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

January 29th, 2010
The Weekend: The sun will come out tomorrow

012810txrenTexas Renegade plays at the Cheatham Street Warehouse on Saturday.

Scene Editor

When it rains in Texas, when those clouds roll in over that big sky and press down on the world, it sure does seem sad. We suppose rain everywhere feels similarly but, here in Texas where the sun loves to shine, it can seem particularly grim.

We know that the water is needed. We know that after a few showers, the world will get greener and the birds will come out and all the gray rain will be forgotten. When you are going through it, though, this thought doesn’t always help.

Life is like that. It’s good to remember the phrase, “This, too, shall pass.” Whether life is going great or it’s on a downturn, everything changes, passes away.

We don’t have any special wisdom to impart about the fluctuating nature of life. It’s just comforting to know that nothing lasts for long. It makes one better appreciate the good and learn to tolerate the not so good.

It also helps to have cake, just sayin’.

There is one thing that never changes. There’s always good music in San Marcos, and most weekends offer good theater, too. Here are a few suggestions for your weekend amusement.

Friday, January 29

Living in the part of Texas that we do, where music is as abundant and good as the sunshine that drapes happily over the Hill Country, it’s easy to forget that most of America is parched for genuine Texas Swing and Country Western Music. Oh, sure, there’s that diluted “country pop” all over the airwaves, but we know that’s not the genuine article. Enter the Hoyle Brothers, who have been bringing Western Swing to the masses in Chicago and the Midwest for years.

The Hoyle Brothers play the good stuff, which is why they have a regular gig at the renowned Empty Bottle in Chicago, and why they have two gigs here tonight, first at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) at 6 p.m., and then at Riley’s (8894 FM 1102) at 8 p.m. Trevor McSpadden … er … Hoyle (all the band members take the last name of Hoyle) is from Texas not far from here, so that may be why they have that Texas spark. But don’t discount the fact that rural Illinois (where most of the band members are from) knows its country music, mainly because that’s a lot of farm country. Why the band member from Hawaii gets “it” is kind of a mystery, although Herb Remington (from the Texas Playboys) plays a mean Hawaiian lap steel, so maybe there’s a Hawaiian connection. Don’t miss the Hoyle Brothers. They play with a jumping country joy.

The bingo halls are so loud in Great Britain that bingo callers have invented phrases to go with the numbers, just to make sure the players hear the call. For example, “B-10”, is called “B-10, Tony’s Den!” You know, because Tony Blair lives at #10 Downing Street. The call “B-9- Doctor’s Orders!” is from the #9 pill prescribed as a laxative in England during World War II. It’s all very complicated. Luckily, the Wimberley VFW’s (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road) Friday night bingo game does not have to make such cryptic calls. There’s the added plus of delicious snacks sold by the good women of the Ladies Auxiliary. The action starts at 7 p.m.

The EmilyAnn Theatre (1101 FM 2325) presents Bernard Pomerance’s play The Elephant Man tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, but get them in advance because only 35 seats are available per performance.

The Second Act Troupe is at the Price Seniors Center (222 West San Antonio Street) presenting two one-act plays tonight starting at 8 p.m. The evening is entitled “Stuff and Nonsense,” featuring “The Last Act is a Solo” by Robert Anderson and “Stuffings” by James Prideaux. If you want to have dinner at the center before the performance, tickets are $22 and $12 for the play only. The Second Act Troupe is a group of well-seasoned actors, so the performances are sure to be memorable.

Perhaps you remember the Squirrel Nut Zippers, who played a jazzy blend of ragtime and rock. They were good, but they never quite got the depression era spirit of the folksy patchwork quilt the music is. Puente, appearing at Wake the Dead Coffeehouse (1432 RR 12) at 8 p.m., really understands this music. Chris Puente and Erin Marie Kost sing with perfect tones for the genre. They are a joy to hear.

That tornado of hillbilly blues and frenzy, Scott Biram, will be at Triple Crown tonight. Do not let his fearsome persona throw you off the track. Underneath all that energy, there’s a sensitive and lonely songwriter. The equally crusty poet Charles Bukowski said something that fits Biram to a tee: “There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out, but I’m too tough for him.”

The word “legendary” should be doled out meagerly, but it certainly fits the artist appearing at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) tonight, Ponty Bone. In fact, there’s nobody who can touch him for artfulness with the squeezebox save for another legend of the instrument, Flaco Jimenez. Bone has played with a plethora of musical stars. It’s hard to top the sorrowful sighs and joyful bubbles he can make with his instrument.

The Organics and The Couch will be at the Gray Horse tonight at 9:30. This is a fortuitous coupling of bands with like minded rock sensibilities. The Organics have a soupçon of swing in ’em. The Couch has a new EP, “Blue Milk” and a witty way of quoting other music in its own work. Their song Dinosaur Romp has, perhaps, a tongue firmly planted in the cheek when they quote a dinosaur of the genre, Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

Saturday, January 30

Job hunters may want to check out the San Marcos Public Library’s (630 East Hopkins Street) Workshop, “Cooking up a Great Resume’.” Professional resume’ coach Sharon Specter will give pointers on how to get your job qualifications noticed on paper  from 1-2 p.m.

The Texas State man’s basketball team will take on Texas-Arlington at 2 p.m. at Strahan Coliseum. Tickets run between $5-$8. The team is on an upswing right now with a 10-10 record. The Bobcats could use a bit of cheering.

The Luckenbach’s third annual Festival of Blues gets started today at 3 p.m. and will feature the SA Blue Cats, Ben Beckendorf, Debbi Walton, Guy Forsyth, Danny Brooks, Omar and the Howlers, Seth Walker and Paul Thorn. Tickets are $20.

The EmilyAnn Theatre’s production of The Elephant Man starts tonight at 7:30 p.m. The Pomerance play has had several revivals over the last few years, most notably on Broadway with Billy Crudup of Watchmen fame in 2004. The play still elicits a lot of emotion from the audience.

Mark Allan Atwood, appearing at Riley’s tonight, is a true hybrid of country and rock. Having been in bands that opened for Dokken, Slaughter and Great White, he’s got an ear for metal. He also has a great country voice. He has a song that sums it up in its chorus, “I love Van Halen and I worship Willie and Waylon. How Country do you want your Country tonight?”

The Price Senior Center plays host one more night for “Stuff and Nonsense,” a pair of one-act plays performed by the Second Act Troupe tonight at 8 p.m. The plays are both funny and poignant, just the way the Second Actors like to do them.

Sometimes a voice or a phrase of music just hits you as right. It just feels like the right tone or the right voice. Tex Smith, appearing at Wake the Dead tonight, has one of those voices. He won’t blast you with Country Western bluster but the calm quiet quality of his is one you will want to hear again and again. There’s something a little magical in his lonesome sound. He starts at 8 p.m. tonight and he’s a don’t miss.

The Gray Horse Saloon features Augmentally Ill. We’re not sure if there is such a category, but allow us to make one up. They are, maybe, Math Funk/Hip Hop. They will jam at 9:30 p.m.

It’s a pop rock night at Triple Crown with Clay Nightingale, Gleason and The Perilous Tide, who manage to successfully flux between pop and rock. Don’t mix this concert with a Coke, though, or it might explode. (Get it? Pop rocks? Okay, bad joke.)

Texas Renegade may be a familiar band to some folks around town since the musicians live here, went to school here and play here a lot. It’s a danger that we could take their presence for granted. Someday, when they are huge superstars, which could certainly happen, you’ll regret that you didn’t see them at the Cheatham Street Warehouse when you had the chance. Like tonight, at 9:30.

Sunday, January 31

Wake the Dead will give you a pleasant Sunday of coffee and music today starting at noon with Day Jazz and continuing on with the S.M.A.R.T. String Quintet. Bob Steine will be there from 4-7 p.m. giving chair massages guaranteed to relax you before another busy week.

The Live Oak Living Programs partnered with the Staples Civic Club to open a thrift store at the Staples Civic Club Building. Its grand opening is today from 1-4 p.m. and they promise to have antiques, “junktiques” and collectibles. There’s also a book exchange and free coffee. It sounds like an intriguing mix. It’s probably a lot more fun than the Pro Bowl.

The EmilyAnn Theatre’s Sunday matinee’ performance of The Elephant Man starts at 2 p.m. today. The intimate 35-seat theater experience is sure to be riveting.

The Thompson Lee Band plays good old country swing that will make you feel like dancing. Lucky you, they will be playing from 3-6:30 p.m. at the Geronimo VFW Hall (6806 North SH 123) for the Sunday Afternoon Dance. These dances are always lively and fun. A $7 donation to the VFW is taken at the door.

If all this rain and cold has you singing the blues, why not go to an open mic and let it out? Triple Crown and Riley’s are ready to make you a star. The Gray Horse has karaoke, for those who don’t remember the words.

The Grammy Awards are on NBC tonight starting at 7 p.m. TCM has Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby in 1946’s Blue Skies, singing loads of Irving Berlin tunes. The plot is pasted together just to hold the musical numbers, but what music! The Sleuth Network is showing 2005’s extraordinary Capote with Philip Seymour Hoffman delivering a stellar performance as the southern writer as he researches for his book “In Cold Blood.”

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