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

January 22nd, 2010
The Weekend: Pies, music and the Elephant Man

012110couchThe Couch will play at Triple Crown on Saturday.

Scene Editor

In 1986, the American Pie Council (APC) claimed Jan. 23 as National Pie Day, which seems to us like a very worthwhile holiday. This should not be confused with National Pi day which is generally considered to be March 14 — 3.14, get it? (We’re not making this up.)

Anyway, the whole point of National Pie Day is to remind Americans of that warm and comforting baked delight that is shared with neighbors. That, and to sell a lot of Crisco, we suppose.

Pie is a wonderful thing, so wonderful that it’s been around since the Egyptians, although, at first, the pie crust was made mainly to serve as cookware for the filling and the crust was often thrown away.

Do you remember the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence” with its “four and twenty black birds baked in a pie”? Animated pies, usually filled with live birds or animals like rabbits and turtles were a source of amusement for banquets from the 14th century all the way through to the 18th century. No, they didn’t bake the live animals in the pie, they baked the pie crust with a hole in the bottom and inserted the animals in after the pie was baked.  The animals would then burst forth in their attempt to get out of the pie. As far as amusements go, frankly, we’re glad there is television now.

Texas doesn’t have a state pie, although Florida does (the key lime), as does Vermont (apple) and Indiana (sugar). Since there’s no official Texas pie, save for the ubiquitous unofficial Frito pie, we suppose one could make any variety of pie for National Pie Day. Pie is always good, and whether it’s shepherd’s pie or blackberry pie or even a moon pie, which is no more a pie than the mysteriously named Boston Creme Pie

The point is, the 23rd is an official day for pie and we hope you eat a couple of pies to celebrate.

It is easy as pie to recommend a few things for your weekend amusement. Here are just a few suggestions.

Friday, January 22

Whether playing Antone’s or Threadgill’s or, in this case, Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary), Ricky Lugo and Los Gallos deliver a silky smooth Texas Latin rock that is often reminiscent of Carlos Santana’s work. You’ll never regret seeing them. They go on at 6 p.m.

Bingo, though the game’s roots are in the Renaissance, is not that old of a word. It didn’t even make it into the English dictionary until the 1940s. You don’t need a dictionary to play Bingo, of course, but you do need to know where to play it. Might we suggest the Wimberley VFW post at Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road? There are tasty snacks happily sold by the Ladies Auxiliary, as well. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

It’s been 30 years since the story of John Merrick was portrayed on Broadway in the play by Bernard Pomerance, later made into a film directed by David Lynch. No one who has ever seen The Elephant Man is ever quite the same afterwards. The play brings up all kinds of questions about life and loneliness. The actors at the EmilyAnn Theatre (1101 FM 2325) are performing Pomerance’s play tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, but only 35 seats are available per performance so ordering tickets in advance is a must. Call (512) 847-6969 for more information. The theatre will host the play on weekends for the next three weeks.

Scott Brown is an Iraqi war veteran who spent four years in the marines before coming home to start a band. Scott was blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with the nickname “Scooter,” so Scooter Brown became the name of his group. Brown’s clear, vibrant voice is almost dead perfect for the nuances of country rock. The band has a successful new release, “Between Hell and Texas,” and its musical contours are polished. Scooter Brown is at Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1105) tonight. This Texas band is getting a well-deserved, state-wide fan base, and you’ll know why if you are lucky enough to catch it.

Wake the Dead Coffeehouse (1432 RR 12) hosts Fotoelectric tonight at 8 p.m. The band is a mélange of psychedelic funk with a hint of Brian Ferry-like vocals. The sound is hypnotic without ever sinking into slipshod, marshmallowy, sticky mellowness.

Tomorrow night, Marcia Ball will be in Port Arthur being inducted into the Gulf Music Hall of Fame. Tonight, however, the four-time Grammy nominee and eight-time Blues Music Award winner will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) at 9:30 p.m. It’s only fair that we get her first, since Cheatham Street is familiar venue for Ball. She was in Freda and the Firedogs, the first band to play at the venerable venue back in 1974. Ball’s honky-tonk piano playing and witty, often gripping songs will be a treat you will long remember.

Rip Lorick’s vocals put one in mind of one of an icon of Texas music, Kris Kristofferson.  Well, that, with a zesty dash of barbecue sauce in it. There’s no denying, though, that the phrasing may be a little grittier than the mighty Kris. Lorick’s original songs are spirited. “Hold on, Texas” is sung sadly about a homesick Texan. There’s hardly a Texan who won’t relate to the cleverly crafted song. Rip Lorick will be at the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 RR 12), where those lucky enough to be in the audience will tap their toes with delight.

Triple Crown hosts two local favorites, Spank and Funkotron. Funkotron churns and burns, Spank grooves and moves. Together they make a crowd pleasing gig with their peppery fusions of funk and psychedelia. Spank, in their song “Mr. Fain,” delivers seven minutes of groovy alt-funk that’s too cool for school, if you dig.

Saturday, January 23

The City of San Marcos Public Services, Hays County, the San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) and Home Instead Senior Care are sponsoring a household hazardous waste and pharmaceutical drop off this morning from 8 a.m. until noon. The drive-through drop off will be in the traffic yard at 630 East Hopkins Street. Check out the city’s website for more details at These convenient drop off days are a good way of preventing potential domestic tragedies by ridding the house of dangerous substances.

The Walkers’ Gallery at the San Marcos Activity Center (510 East Hopkins Street) hosts an opening reception for the public to introduce its new exhibit tonight from 5-7:30 p.m. The “Hands-On” exhibit features more than 60 prints, paintings and drawings exploring the many aspects of the extremity we use to create, write, knead and slap. A celebration of the manual over the automatic, so to speak. The exhibit will be available for perusal during the center’s regular hours until Feb. 26.

The EmilyAnn Theatre’s production of The Elephant Man has its second performance tonight at 7:30 p.m. Don’t forget to reserve a ticket for the intimate 35-seat production. It’s directed by Bridget Farias. The show is guaranteed to move you.

At the Twisted Twig Studio in Bastrop, the Chubby Knuckle Choir was formed from the co-mixture of solo artists from the studio joining musical forces, as it were. The result is a delicious musical bouillabaisse of swampy blues, rocking country and R&B. You can sample this melodic stew for yourself tonight at Riley’s Tavern, where Tres Womack and the chubby knucklers hit the stage at 8 p.m. The tasty licks and tangy riffs will leave you hungry for more.

Nutmud, appearing tonight at Wake the Dead Coffeehouse, is not just experimental rock, they are more like a happening, if we can co-opt a term from the turbulent 1960’s. In addition to the lively music, they pour on the light show while an artist paints or draws a spontaneous impression as the music swirls. The show starts at 8 p.m. and it should be a lot of high spirited fun.

The Couch is an exceptionally good band with a die-hard loyal fan base. You only have to hear it once to know why. Tight and rocking, the band is an amalgam of so many styles that it’s almost a genre of its own. Infectious hooks interspersed with fuzzy guitars and backed with riveting beats make The Couch the don’t miss gig of the night at Triple Crown. Also on the bill is the equally popular Zlam Dunk, which is more than a little punky with splash of the old new wave and a touch of dance.

The Gray Horse Saloon hosts The StandOuts tonight at 9:30 p.m. Formerly Rockus Circus (we cheer for the name change) the band is a sort of Texas version of the Squeeze or the Dandy Warhols. Pop with some purpose. Catchy tunes with some pith. Their meat-and-potatoes substantial sound is balanced by their mastery of all things power pop and their crisp vocal harmonies. Good stuff.

Zack Walther and the Cronkites are regulars at Gruene Hall and tonight’s venue, the Cheatham Street Warehouse, because they can deliver the gutsy rootsy rock goods every time they play. Their consistent prowess has garnered them legions of fans. You can hear why tonight at 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 24

Wake the Dead features its usual complement of Day Jazz at noon and later the S.M.A.R.T. Quintet, to melodically ease you into Sunday. From 4-7 p.m. Bob Steine makes with the chair massages. There are caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages to delight you there, as well.

The EmilyAnn Theatre will have its matinee of The Elephant Man at 2 p.m. today. The small size of the audience (35) should prove to be a personal and immediate experience.

Of course, it’s the last round of football playoffs before the Super Bowl, so the games today should be fairly exciting. It all starts at 2 p.m. with the Jets and the Colts on CBS. Then Drew Brees and the Saints take on Brett Favre and the Vikings on Fox at 4 p.m.

If you just gotta sing, you’ll be glad there are open mics tonight at Riley’s and the Triple Crown. The Gray Horse gives you the option of Karaoke.

On TCM tonight at 9 p.m. is a little known gem of a movie, A Foreign Affair. The actual film footage from post war Berlin is astonishing and the movie is worth sitting through just to hear Marlene Dietrich sing “Black Market.” BBC America is showing Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window, a masterful chiller with the added perk of a devastatingly gorgeous Grace Kelly. The Ovation Network is running the movie version of Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night. Helena Bonham Carter is wonderful in it, but Ben Kingsley as Feste steals every scene, even if he’s just eating soup. Don’t bother with the biopic of Lord Byron that precedes it, however. Byron may have been a Romantic poet, but he certainly was not the wuss the film depicts him to be.

Of course, hopefully, there’s some pie left. There’s always room for pie.

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