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

March 19th, 2010
The Weekend: Green, musical and fun, like a leprechaun

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Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance Features the musical review “Beautiful, Beautiful World” at the Theatre Center this weekend.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

We would be amiss if we did not mention the death of Alex Chilton, 59, of a heart attack at his home in New Orleans on Wednesday. He’s already been eulogized in Congress by Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen. He’ll get a lot more of that before the month is through.

Chilton started out, at 16 years old, as the lead singer for the Box Tops. That’s Chilton you’re hearing on classic tunes like “The Letter,” “Cry Like a Baby,” and “Soul Deep.” As good as he was in that group, that’s not why he’s influential.

Several years after the Box Tops broke up, Chilton was with a band called Big Star, which never had a hit. Yet, it was in this group that Chilton began to write and record songs that are now considered hugely influential. While he didn’t actually invent the genre, he pretty well honed what is usually referred to as power pop, or for those of you under 30, music as you now know it. Punks and pop stars alike have threads of Chilton in them.

Bands that claim him as a major influence run the gamut from REM to Cheap Trick to the dB’s to the Replacements. Tom Waits said Chilton was a genius on the guitar.

The under-the-radar status of Big Star has always seemed cruelly unjust to most rock critics, and if you think we exaggerate the band’s impact, note that Rolling Stone listed all three of Big Star’s albums on its top 500 of all time.

Chilton’s often teen-angst-driven darkly poppy songs have been covered, with little success, usually, by too many bands to name, and there’s a chance you’ve still never heard of him. If you’ve ever watched “That 70’s Show,” its theme “In the Street,” is Cheap Trick’s cover of a Chilton song. Maybe that will ring a bell.

He was due to play at South by Southwest this year, and we imagine the tributes this weekend will be legion. But no matter what songs bands will play, Chilton’s or their own, they are still paying tribute.

This weekend is chock full of fun stuff to do and lots of great music that the Memphis-born Chilton would dig. Here are just a few suggestions.

Friday, March 19

Buck Jones and the Haggards start out the music of the weekend at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) at 6 p.m. Their name says it all, cheeky country with a twist.

This weekend is loaded with music from students and visiting artists at Texas State. Tonight, it’s Tyler Dunham’s senior guitar recital at the Music Building Recital Hall on the campus at 6 p.m. Admission is free. As you probably already know, those Texas State students are well-turned talents, thanks to the university’s fine music, dance and theater programs. Seeing these students is always a revelation.

If it’s Friday, then it must be bingo night at the Wimberley VFW (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road). This bingo game is one of the few things you can count on in life. The only time this VFW’s bingo is suspended is when it overlaps with its rodeo, Christmas or its Fourth of July celebration. This keeps the Ladies Auxiliary hoppin’ while it sells concessions at the game. You can count on having a fun time there when it all starts up at 7 p.m.

The Orchesis Dance Company at Texas State performs a show every year around this time, and its production, “Side Show,” promises to be an eclectic mix of dance styles. The production will take place in Jowers Studio 178 on the campus. Tickets are $5 at the door, cash only. The terpsichorean moves grace the stage at 7:30 p.m.

If you are more in the mood for musical theater tunes, at 7:30 p.m. in the PSH Foundation Studio at the Theatre Center at Texas State, the Department of Theatre and Dance is performing “Beautiful Beautiful World,” a show featuring the work of songwriters Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. As an added bonus, a pre-show cabaret will be performed in the lobby of the theater 45 minutes before each show. Bock and Harnick are responsible for many musicals and changes in musical theater, although their best-known work remains “Fiddler on the Roof.” Tickets are available at the Texas State box office.

Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102) features Hunter McKithan and the Offenders. The band is an amalgam of music, a sort of country meets metal indie rock vibe. They’ll be shootin’ out the vibes at 8 p.m.

Laura Lopez’s graduate guitar recital will be at the Music Building Recital Hall on the campus of Texas State tonight at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

The Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) features the talents of a young singer-songwriter who pretty much started at the old cotton warehouse under the watchful eye of Kent Finlay, who has an unerring sense of what makes a good song. Jordan Minor writes a very good song. You can see him at Cheatham Street tonight, along with the eccentric and charming Forest Wayne Allen. Maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll sit in with each other for a number or two.

The bluesy rock sounds of Firewater Sermon will grace the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 RR 12) tonight. The band has a faithful local fan base, and you know a band always plays better with a friendly crowd.

Triple Crown has its usual triple threat Friday with Mankind and Me, The Columnists and the Black Squeeze.

Saturday, March 20

First off, the “celebrity car wash” at Conley Car Wash has been changed to next Saturday on account of a rainy forecast. No point in getting your car washed in the rain, even if you do want to help out the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center. You can do it next week. We’ll remind you.

It’s time for the Annual IBCA (International Barbecue Cookers Association) sanctioned cook-off hosted by the Geronimo VFW Post (6808 SH 123.) Jackpot beans, Dutch oven dessert and meat, meat, meat. We can practically smell it from here. These cook-offs, in addition to being serious for the contenders, are lots of fun to watch. Don’t worry, they’ll have food there. If they didn’t, it would be cruel. You can meet a lot of great folks there, too (yeah, we said it). It’ll be goin’ all day rain or shine.

The San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Green Living Showcase at the City of San Marcos Conference Center today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors, displays and a lot of intriguing speakers talking about how to live greener and healthier will abound. There will be loads of earth friendly products to look at, and Mr. Smarty Plants from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will give two presentations on native plants. The day should be both stimulating and fun. Best of all, admission is free.

The Texas State softball team will play a double-header today against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Bobcat Field starting at 1 p.m. If the weather looks too threatening, check with Texas State at www.txstatebobcats.com/sports/w-softbl/txst-w-softbl-body.html to see if the game is still on.

Two free student recitals will be at the Music Building Recital Hall today. James Ryan Morris will give his senior bassoon recital at 4 p.m. and Rachel Bailey will give her graduate flute recital at 6 p.m. There’s nothing like bassoon and flute on a rainy afternoon. Just sayin’.

It’s the annual Texas State Maroon vs. Gold football scrimmage today at 6:45 p.m. at Bobcat Stadium, with the Bobcat offensive units playing against the defensive units. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m., and tailgating is encouraged in the parking lot on the west side of the stadium before the game. Admission is free.

If you missed it last night, you have another chance to see the Orchesis Dance Company at Texas State in Jowers Studio 178 on the campus. The production, “Side Show,” is a multicultural mix of dance and music. Tickets are $5 at the door, cash only.

The Bock and Harnick musical show, “Beautiful, Beautiful World,” at the PSH Foundation Studio at the Theatre Center at Texas State will reprise at 7:30 p.m. Bock and Harnick’s success with “Fiddler on the Roof” sometimes overshadows their cutting edge work in musical theater with lesser known but innovative musicals like “Fiorello!” The show should be a doozy if you like musical theater, which is having a renaissance of sorts in this century.

Turbo 350 will rev their musical engines at Riley’s Tavern at 8 p.m. At the Cheatham Street, the talented and golden-voiced Aaron Einhouse will play his heartfelt tunes.

The popular groove rockers Spank will be at Triple Crown tonight with Gravity Feed. God & the Devil will be at the Gray Horse Saloon.

Sunday, March 21

Texas State will play its third and final game in a three game series with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Bobcat Field at 1 p.m. The forecast is for a sunny day in the upper 60s, so it should be a fine day to see a ball game and root, root, root for the home team.

The Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas State will present a matinee of the Bock and Harnick musical review, “Beautiful, Beautiful World” at 2 p.m. The director of the performance, Kaitlin Hopkins, collaborated with the famed songwriters to create the review, and the Texas State performers added a bit of their own creativity to the work for the current show.

Steve Kostelnik, a guest artist at Texas State, will have a concert at the Music Building Recital Hall today at 2 p.m. The guitar performance is $5 for general admission, $3 for students and senior citizens.

At 3 p.m., the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance (SMGA) will hold its annual meeting and happy hour at the Price Seniors Center (222 West San Antonio Street). Sally Campbell from Envision Central Texas will speak about the “green print” for Central Texas. The SMGA will hand out awards and discuss current works. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited to attend. And then, you may as well stay for the speaker and refreshments at the beguiling Price Seniors Center.

Guest artist soprano Claire Vangelisti will give a recital at the Music Building Recital Hall on the campus of Texas State at 4 p.m. Admission is free. You may as well stay and hear Janelle Martin’s senior flute recital at the same venue at 6 p.m. The flute is one of the oldest known human instruments, dating back more than 40,000 years. It’s always a pleasure to hear it played well.

Later, at 8 p.m. at the Music Building Recital Hall, David Dawson will play a double bass accompanied by the lovely and talented Faith DeBow at the piano. It’s part of the Faculty Recital Series at Texas State. Tickets are $5 general admission, $3 for students and senior citizens.

If you just can’t stop yourself from singing, there are open mics at Riley’s and Triple Crown tonight. If you need help with the words, there’s karaoke at the Gray Horse.

On KLRU tonight at 7 p.m. is a “really really big shoe” certain to bring on waves of nostalgia from the older folks and ripples of interest from the younger ones with the showing of “Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classics.” Performances will include early Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Doors, The Supremes and the band our mom claimed would “never make it,” the Rolling Stones.

Alex Chilton would have loved it.

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