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

July 30th, 2010
The Weekend: The play's the thing, and music, too

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A scene from Forum Productions’ “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” which will play at the Price Seniors Center on Friday and Saturday.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

In the summer, driveways and lawns used to be dotted with little, poorly constructed lemon stands or Kool-Aid stands where kids would sell the soft drinks to passersby. We don’t see much of that anymore, possibly because the so called “profit” was merely mythical when we were kids.

We’d try to make money at a nickel a cup (that’ll tell you how old we are)  at our folding table at the end of our driveway. Some good-hearted neighbor always came over and bought a cup or two. But, mostly, we drank the stuff as we sat there, giving out free samples to our friends.

If it was supposed to give us the entrepreneurial spirit, it failed and mostly just taught us that retail was dull, shop keeping was tiresome and watching everybody else play was tortuous.

We always took the money we earned and bought candy with it, anyway, and one couldn’t get much candy from our profits. We hadn’t a thought of buying more stock, even if our first batch’s raw materials were donated by mom.

Of course, first we made an awful mess in the kitchen, then we’d spill half of it taking it to the card table. The most fun part was making the sign we’d tape up on the table proclaiming our drink’s virtues and the price.

We don’t even remember why we wanted the money outside of the purchase of an occasional comic book. We have promised ourselves, after this silly little reverie, to go buy the kid in us a comic book. It’s always a good idea to remember the little kid you were that still resides inside your heart.

You won’t have to worry about getting your money’s worth at the many things there are to spend it on this weekend. There are plays, musical performances and more. Here are just a few suggestions.

Friday, July 30

The Walkers Gallery in the San Marcos Activity Center (501 East Hopkins Street) will host an artist reception for the current exhibit, “What’s so funny?” from 5-7:30 p.m. The lighthearted exhibit features local artist/illustrator Ros Hill and Austin artist Chad Hopper, who is the creator of the infamous Pal Float series. Examples of his work can be seen at palfloat.com. Hopper’s work is whimsical and delightful. Examples can be seen at hillustrations.com. Their original artworks can be seen at the Walkers Gallery through Aug. 27. Looking at the work of these talented artists will kick start your weekend with some wry laughter.

Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) features RC Banks’ 60th birthday celebration. The multi-talented troubador from Lubbock is a master on the guitar, the accordian, the organ and the harmonica. His songs have been recorded by Joe Ely, Linda Ronstadt, and Charlie & Will Sexton just to name a few. He’s a hotshot classic. The musical celebration goes from 6-8 p.m.

In Edward Bond’s play, “Bingo,” an aging Shakespeare broods over what his literary legacy will be and is as tormented as King Lear. If only old Bill could play some game to distract him and give him some amusement. Like, for example, the weekly bingo game hosted each week by the Wimberley VFW (Veteran’s Park on Jacobs Well Road) at 7 p.m. each Friday night. Although, now that we think on it, Shakespeare did try his hand at calling a bingo game and got it a little backwards. Wasn’t it he who said, “2B or not 2B?” He probably should have had access to a tasty snack to straighten out his thinking, like those sold by the Ladies Auxiliary at the Wimberley game. It’s a good thing he had that playwriting gig to fall back on.

Speaking cheekily about Shakespeare, as we were, segues very neatly into the premier production of a new local theater troupe, Forum Productions, and its performance of Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” at 7 p.m. at the Price Seniors Center (222 West San Antonio Street). Stoppard’s mental and verbal gymnastic interplay through the two minor characters from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” make for mighty enjoyable and thought provoking theater. The all local cast is enhanced by music created expressly for the performance by area musicians J.T. Martin and Sean Hannon, both members of the band, Chasca. Tickets for the Forum’s opening show, which features wine and hors d’ oeuvres are $22. Tickets may be obtained early at Costumed Occasions, 150 South LBJ Drive, or by calling (512) 754-7400. They may also be purchased at the door on the night of the performance.

The Austin-based alt-country band The Gourds will be at Gruene Hall (1281 Gruene Road in New Braunfels) tonight. The Gourds are consistantly one of the treats that folks come to hear at the SxSW music conference. Matt King opens the show for the popular band. Tickets are $12.

One of the finest teen dramas ever written does not call upon any television network show spangled with Disney-esque stars, but instead relies on well-worded lines. Of course, we’re talking about Shakespeare again as the EmilyAnn Theatre’s (1101 FM2325) Shakespeare Under the Stars program presents “Romeo and Juliet.” The cast of students, all between the ages 12-18,  have worked for weeks on the sets, the lines, the scansion and the costumes, and will present the play at 8 pm. What a joy to see a young cast in the roles of the young star-crossed lovers! The EmilyAnn version is set in 1810 and the classic Romantic period gives the play an added beauty. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students.

The “no-neck monsters” of “Sister-Woman” will be in full forced tonight as the Wimberley Players stage Tennessee Williams’ hot and sultry tale of the South, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Like most Williams plays, the subject is for mature audiences only. The Wimberley Playhouse (450 Old Kyle Road) will positively radiate with life as Big Daddy bemoans the preponderance of mendacity in the world. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.

The soulful, bluesy tones of the Jeff Strahan Band will rock the patrons at Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102) with their good-time roadhouse sound. The music starts up at 9 p.m.

Lubbock’s country rockers the Hogg Maulies will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) tonight. Their country rock energy could light up the moon. They are joined by fellow Lubbocker (Lubbockee?) Wes Nickson. Nickson’s clear, beautiful voice hits all the notes with no strain, and that’s saying something. He knows his range and he is master of it. Good energy all around at the Cheatham Street tonight.

Equals plays a pensive ambient rock that will transport you to another dimension as you sit in Triple Crown tonight. While you’re there, you may as well listen to Tornahdo, which seems to occupy that dimension with a bit of funkier edge. Rounding out the bill is the Black Squeeze, a Black Keys tribute/cover band. Frankly, the Black Squeeze can’t help but put its own personal twist to the Black Keys’ music, and the songs take on another, albeit more spare, dimension. The inter-dimensional travel starts up around 9 p.m.

At the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 R R 12) tonight, the talents of the Whiptails are on stage. The Whiptails are trio that has a country/rockabilly edge with a scant whiff of Liz Phair-like rock. What happens is strictly their own sound, and they are really fun to hear. Their whimsy grows on you, and you’ll find yourself wanting more.

Saturday, July 31

It’s Market on the Square in downtown San Marcos in courthouse square. Fresh produce, music and fun. It starts at 9 a.m. and, like the morning glory, it closes up by 1 p.m., so get there early to enjoy it.

The Elks Club (353 Seguin Street) in New Braunfels features a market of crafts, jewelry, clothing and more in its parking lot today from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There is a variety of vendors, and that’s great for gift shopping.

Gary Claxton, Erik Hokkanen & Friends will entertain folks with their signature rockin’ country at Gruene Hall today from 1-5 p.m. It don’t hurt none that these fellas play with the legendary Heybale!, neither. No cover.

The Wimberley Valley Art League will have a free opening champagne reception for their new exhibition juried by Austin artist Jerry V Seagle tonight from 5-7 p.m. at the Wimberley Community Center (14070 RR 12).  The public is invited to attend. Seagle has had more than 200 one-man shows and has received more than 350 awards in regional and national exhibitions. He works with a variety of mediums including watercolor, collage and acrylics. His works are striking with color. There’s nothing quite like art to refresh the spirit. The exhibition will be open for further viewing on the weekdays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., if you can’t make it to the opening.

Forum Productions will reprise “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” at the Price Seniors Center at 7 p.m. The play features all local talent, including the music written expressly for the performance. It’s very exciting to be at the birth of a new theatre company. This is your chance to be a part of local theatrical history and support our incredibly talented citizens.  Tickets are $15 and are available at the door.

The students at the EmilyAnn Theatre and Gardens will walk the boards in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” tonight. The lovers, who are generally the apex of the “star crossed” variety, will once again put a tear in your eye and a sigh in your breath. What a privilege to see Shakespeare out under the stars of the Texas night. The curtain rises at 8:15 p.m. Hotdogs, candy, water and soft drinks are available at the performance. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students.

If you’d rather see lovers that are a bit more mature and complicated, go no further than the Wimberley Playhouse for its production of Tennessee William’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Maggie “the cat” and Brick have problems that pharmaceutical companies cannot solve with a little diamond shaped blue pill — there’s a mystery for you to figure out. The family squabbles will make your family look like the Waltons. The action starts up at 8 p.m.

We have to admit that, as a baseball fan, we have trepidation about a songwriter who uses baseball analogies. They are usually way off base (pun intended). But Cody Lawson, appearing at the Cheatham Street Warehouse tonight, makes a baseball analogy in his song “Haunted Dreams,” which does not stretch out its credibility, and our baseball cap is off to him. He’s a fine songwriter. He will be joined tonight by the talents of Ben Danaher, whose music just sinks right into your heart. It’s a stand-out gig at the Cheatham Street.

At Riley’s Tavern tonight, you can hear the Matt Dunnam Band’s lively, rough-hewn roots-rock. Dunnam’s voice is nothing if not distinctive, and the band drives the music forward without a stall. Riley’s is the perfect setting for this edge of outlaw rock.

Tonight, the Derailers return to Gruene Hall, the place where they recorded much of their highly anticipated live album. Their sound is pure country and as smooth as silk. The fine purveyors of roadhouse country, the Moonhangers, open. Tickets are $12.

San Marcos Local News reviewer Sarah Stevens calls Olive Street band classically catchy. You will, too, when you see them tonight at the Gray Horse Saloon. They are joined on the card by Beth Lee for a great night of music.

There is nothing quite like the dark but cheery tones of Mr. Lewis and the Funeral Five. It’s hard to maintain that gallows edge when the songs are often so lively, but they manage it quite nicely. They will be at Triple Crown tonight with the popular Organics and southern rockers Chicken Shift. The music will be loud and proud.

Sunday, August 1

Tommy Elskes and Stephen Doster are the real thing when it comes to working musicians. They chose a spot and just kept on playing. Both of them deserve accolades, but, more than that, these veterans of music deserve an appreciative audience and a thank you for continuing to put music out into the universe. They will both be at Gruene Hall today from 12:30- 4:30 p.m. No cover.

The Wimberley Players matinee of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” starts today at 2:30 p.m. at the Wimberley Playhouse. The play emanates its own heat, so, this time, it’s not the weather that’s causing the temperatures to rise. Set in the 1950’s in Mississippi, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play caused a sensation for the Hayes Codes when it was put on film, and many of the more adult themes were muted. It can still push more than a few hot buttons.

Klassic Kountry Gold, which recently played a concert in the park here in San Marcos, has graciously donated its performance today at the Sunday afternoon country dance at the Geronimo VFW (6808 North SH 123). The doors and the kitchen open at 2 p.m. so that you can cut your hunger before you cut a rug to classic (or Klassic) country dance tunes. This is a $5 benefit dance with proceeds going to the VFW’s veterans and military programs. The dances are always a lot fun. The event goes from 3-6 p.m.

The Kyle Wayne Kutscher Band plays what it calls “Texas Black Dirt Country,” which is just another way of saying it cuts a big slab of chocolate country cake and slaps on your plate. It’s delicious and calorie free. The band will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse today from 4-8 p.m.

Shineyribs, featuring Kevin Russell from the Gourds, are playing at Gruene Hall tonight from 5- 9 p.m. Expect country-esque confabulations and tintinnabulation from the rhythmic to the eccentric. No cover.

If you want to take Lindsay Lohan’s place in the music industry (she’s already made two albums) while she’s in prison, you’d best hurry and hone your skills. What better place to do so than Triple Crown or Riley’s tonight? If you’re pretty sure her probation is imminent, you could just sing a little Karaoke at the Gray Horse Saloon. And we promise to never invoke her name again.

Tonight, the Queen of Soul, the incomparable Aretha Franklin, will be on KLRU-TV presenting Soul Rewind, a compilation of soul hits from the 1960s and 1970s. Included in the show are songs like Aretha’s classic “Respect,” “Dancing In The Street” by Martha & The Vandellas, “You Really Got A Hold On Me” by The Miracles, “Knock On Wood” by Eddie Floyd and many others from rare performances never seen in the U.S.

ESPN will show the Los Angeles Dodgers playing the San Francisco Giants, and it’s fun to watch these baseball teams. But a crucial missing element is the veteran announcer in his last year of announcing, Vin Scully. Maybe ESPN will be smart enough to use his broadcast. It’s a pleasure to hear an announcer who lets you get excited about the game and refrains from silly statements like “I don’t believe what I just saw” when somebody hits a decent but garden variety home run.

TCM features a classic Sherlock Holmes movie with Basil Rathbone (or as our dad always said, Rasil Bathbone) as the eccentric violin playing detective and Nigel Bruce as a comically flustered Dr. Watson. “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” is from 1939 and features the evil Holmes nemesis, Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) starts at 7 p.m.

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