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

February 19th, 2010
The Weekend: Fixin’ to hear some good music

021810nunnThe legendary Gary P. Nunn will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse on Saturday.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

We were reading recently about ATMs in England that ask if you wanted to conduct your business in English or in Cockney English. The Cockney English choice started off asking “Some Moolah for your sky rocket?” (Some money for your pocket?)  or “Ya rattle and tank balance?” (Your bank balance?). It was done half for the fun of it, the novelty, and half to preserve the old language of the street.

It’s true that as the world gets smaller, thanks to computers and cell phones and Twitter and the like, the language homogenizes into one somewhat bland tongue. Most every area in America has its odd slang expressions that are gone or fading. We wonder if anyone in Wisconsin still calls a water fountain a “bubbler” or if people in Minnesota still say “rubber binder” for rubber band. Do people in Idaho still say “jockey box” when referring to the glove compartment of a car? Does anyone in Texas still call coffee a cup of Arbuckle’s?

Every Texan who is growing up in our media-frenzied culture can replicate the speech patterns of the folks they see on the television. So all the kids can talk just like a bland news anchor from Anywheresville. When one hears a Texas drawl, it’s a fine thing, like a song you remember fondly. It would be mighty sad to lose that tune.

One of the great things about both the twang and the slang of Texas is the poetry that seems to come from landscape itself. The nuances of the sounds and words that go into “fixing” are wonderful, i.e. I’m fixin’ to eat some supper now.  And “ya’ll,” while it’s a common southern word, is one of those perfect blends of rhythm and practicality that should never get lost.

It might be fun to have a Texas ATM. Texans are notoriously friendly if you don’t rile them up. So the ATM would first have to say “Howdy.”  Then it might ask, “Are you fixin’ to get a mess o’ green?”  or “You just checkin’ in?”  Okay, maybe not.

One of the best parts of living in this state is the profusion of music and musicians. We swear this state is made of music and dirt. Those songwriters and singers keep the language pot simmering for us and preserve a lot of its character.

If it’s music you’re looking for, well, you’re walkin’ in the tall cotton, hon, because we’ve got a weekend full of it and lots of other diversions as well. Here are just a few suggestions.

Friday, February 19

Mark Jungers at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) has become synonymous with the weekend. His rockin’ early gig performances there at 6 p.m. are sort of the opening salvo to a good weekend. His laid-back musical style is the harbinger of a relaxing and enjoyable two days off.

If, when you hear the word “bingo,” you think of a flat game that one wins by getting a straight or diagonal line across a card, you haven’t played bingo in quite a while. There are all sorts of patterns that bingo callers use for a little twist on the game. You can see this for yourself at the Friday night bingo game at the Wimberley VFW (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road). Concessions are handily proffered for sale by the efficient hands of the Ladies Auxiliary. The cage starts revolving at 7 p.m.

The Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance presents Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” at 7:30 p.m. on the main stage of the Theatre Center on campus. One of Stoppard’s most highly regarded plays, the action revolves around two different time periods. It’s very much like a detective story, but this is Stoppard, remember, a co-author of Terry Gilliam’s surreal movie “Brazil,” so be prepared for some thought provoking and mind-bending comments on the sciences and life. Ticket prices are $10 general admission and $7 for students with valid Texas State ID.

Author Francince Prose will be at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center (508 West Center Street in Kyle) at 7:30 p.m. Prose is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and the author of twelve novels, including Blue Angel, which was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. Her newest book is the critically acclaimed Goldengrove. The event is free and open to the public.

The theater is certainly not dead in our little corner of Texas. The Wimberley Players will stage “1940’s Radio Hour,” at 8 p.m. at the Wimberley Playhouse. The musical takes a nostalgic look at a Christmas radio broadcast during World War II. The music features classic songs like “Blue Moon” and “Ain’t She Sweet.” Tickets are $18.

Evans Auditorium on the campus of Texas State features another segment of its Ensemble Series. Tonight’s musical offering is entitled Wind Ensemble & Symphonic Winds: A Joint Concert. The concert is under the direction of Rod Schueller and Caroline Beatty. The music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens.

The Lost Immigrants are at Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102) playing in their signature heart-felt style. They honestly seem to feel the music and are not just going through the motions. They have inspired a legion of fans with their most recent recordings, 2009’s Live from the Hill Country and this year’s Pasaporte.

When you hear Bobby Duncan, you’ll swear that you’ve heard him before. It may be because he speaks to you from his heart. It may also be because he sounds more than a little like Eagle’s front man Don Henley. Either way, he’s a young fella with a big sound goin’. He’s at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) at 9:30 p.m.

Firewater Sermon owes a great deal of its charm to lead singer Shawn Line. His rich, strong voice is compelling and he is more than ably backed by the band. You won’t ever regret hearing that countryesque rockin’. The band is at the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 RR 12) tonight.

Triple Crown features the funk with the trippy rock of Spank. Joining the card is Plump, a gang of hip hoppers from Houston with a most delicious blend of chunky and funky beats. We know it’s cold out, but if you wear socks, they’ll just get blown off by this gig. You won’t miss ’em, anyway, because you’ll be movin’ and groovin’ to this set up.

Saturday, February 20

Jo on the Go coffee shop (312 University Drive) is displaying the artwork of two San Martians, Topher Sipes and Kellen Stanley. Sipes is exhibiting pyrographs, images burnt into wood with accents of acrylic paint. His work is deft, elegant and sometimes whimsical.

Stanley’s coffee filters dipped in plaster are a kind of revelation. They can look like spit wads and bog monsters. On the other hand, there are profiles and objects in their shadowed recesses. Let your eye create the art as you look. She’s also showing an interactive work titled “Stream of Consciousness,” which calls for the viewer to contribute. So you can be a real part of the art. Stanley’s work is also currently featured at the Gallery of Common Experience at Texas State. Jo on the Go is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stop in for a drop of joe and check out the art.

John Scott Anderson has worked as a registered pharmacist for almost 25 years and has incorporated nutrition into his practice for most of that time. His focus is “bringing the science of nutrition to the science of medicine.” He is a familiar face at Wimberley Pharmacy and B&J Pharmacy in San Marcos. Today, at the Embassy Suites Spring Room (1001 McCarty Lane) he will give a talk/workshop on “Hormones, Health and Happiness,” from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Lunch is included.

If you, your kids, your grandkids or your grandparents are thinking about going to college, the San Marcos Public Library (625 East Hopkins) has folks there from 3-6 p.m. today and Sunday to help find the right college, file applications and look for scholarships and financial aid. No appointment is necessary. Remember that it’s never too late to learn.

Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance stages Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” again this evening at 7:30 p.m. Often considered Stoppard’s best play, this is actually saying something, since he’s an award winning dramatist who co-authored the movie “Shakespeare in Love” and is said to have been a dialog doctor for both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. His era-juxtaposing work in Arcadia will give you a lot to think about.

The Wimberley Players will delight audiences with songs like “Kalamazoo” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” as they stage “1940’s Radio Hour” at 8 p.m. The Wimberley Playhouse will be one jumpin’ joint tonight.

Riley’s Tavern will host Lil’ Bit and the Customatics around 8:30 p.m. If you dig Western Swing and all things honky tonk, you should not miss their rollicking right on the money country swing sound. Lil’ Bit (her name is Jen) has a wonderful, clear voice for the music, but the Customatics can also steamroll through an instrumental piece like their instruments are on fire. Lil’ Bit is actually distantly related to the infamous outlaw Belle Starr, who was an accomplished pianist. We think she has just enough of the famous female rebel to give her voice some added spice.

There’s probably nobody in Texas who writes a more loving song about the Lone Star State than Gary P. Nunn. Just the classic “London Homesick Blues” alone sets him in the pantheon of Texas music legends, let alone all the musicians he’s played with and who have covered his songs. Austin City Limits has used the “Homesick Blues” for 20 years as their theme but, gosh darn if it ain’t the words that choke you up the most. Nunn will appear at the Cheatham Street Warehouse tonight. He should need no introduction, but if he does, we just gave it.

Tony Taylor is a very talented singer/songwriter from New Braunfels who has a loving way with a guitar and he allows it to sing with him. He will be at the Gray Horse tonight, and you are in for a treat if you wander in to see him.

Triple Crown features a zingy triple bill with Wargasm, The Write Brothers and Vortexas. This statement might have an odd ring, but Vortexas are a hip-hop crew from Denton. What is not odd are the words and beats created with fury. The whole night will be full of energy, so bring your dead batteries if they need recharging.

Sunday, February 21

It’s Sunday afternoon. There’s no football on. The Texas State baseball team is opening the season, but in Houston. The Olympics are saving the big stuff for prime time. If only somebody had an activity to offer. Like, say, learning to juggle. But what are the chances of that? Well, if you live in San Marcos, the chances are pretty good because the public library is hosting a fun introduction to juggling with experienced juggler Aaron Friend. Register at the library by calling (512) 393-8210. And, by the way, with all the new sports being added to the Olympics, why hasn’t anybody thought of Olympic Juggling? We’d watch that.

Now, this is just a theory. But we love the Ovation network series (Originally aired in Canada) “Slings and Arrows.” We are convinced that the Geoffrey Tennant character is based roughly on Tom Stoppard. Maybe not. Tom Stoppard, is however, the author of “Arcadia,” which is presented today on the main stage of the Theatre Center at Texas State. No Stoppard play is easily summed up, and this one is loaded with thought provoking brilliance. The curtain rises at 2 p.m.

The Wimberley Players will sing their way through some wonderful World War II era songs as they present “1940’s Radio Hour” at 2:30 p.m. What a fun way to get a little nostalgic about those wonderful tunes.

Texas State’s Ensemble Series: University Singers Concert is at Evans Auditorium at 3 p.m. The event is under the baton of Zachary Uzzle. These concerts are always satisfying because Texas State is so chock-full of young talent. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students and senior citizens.

The Geronimo VFW Post (6808 North hwy 123) will have its Sunday Afternoon Country Dance featuring the Two Way Street Band from 3-6:30 p.m. The door and kitchen opens at 2 p.m. Admission is a $7 donation at the door. Proceeds go towards military and veterans programs.

There are open mics tonight at Riley’s Tavern with host Glen Allen and at Triple Crown with host Grant Ewing. Those guys can get you to singin’ if anyone can. There’s always Karaoke, for those who prefer it, at the Gray Horse.

Tonight, the closing ceremonies for the Olympics are on NBC. If you want to spend the entire night in front of the set, you can see Charlton Heston race chariots with Stephen Boyd as TCM presents all four hours of the epic Ben Hur starting at 7 p.m. It will be letterboxed, so you’ll actually get to see all the horses on the track at once. You could spend an hour less with Liza Minelli in her career-making role in Cabaret on Ovation.

Or you could just be fixin’ to hit the hay.

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