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

August 21st, 2009
The weekend: Last hurrah before school starts

The inimitable Hayes Carll plays at Cheatham Street Warehouse Saturday.

Scene Editor

It’s hard to believe that school is already starting this coming Monday. Where does the summer go? It seems to melt like a popsicle dream, doesn’t it?

But remember how wonderful it was to have a flashy new Spiderman lunch box or that cool outfit for the first day of school? Remember the crisp woodsy smell of a freshly sharpened pencil or the wonderful colors of your new spiral notebooks and pens?

Some kids aren’t lucky enough to start school with basic supplies due to economic hardship. If you are feeling generous, Carino’s Italian Restaurant has a “Stuff the Backpacks” campaign going right now where you can donate school supplies at their restaurants that will then be distributed to elementary school children who need them. Kids who get the proper supplies tend to like school and do better in their classes.

You can always go to your neighborhood’s school and ask them what they need, if you’d rather. They’ll tell you.

Now, everybody knows it’s not your responsibility to take care of other people’s kids. However, when you invest in helping a child through school you are really helping yourself, your city and your country.

A study done by Dr. David Baker at Pennsylvania State University found that high school dropouts are more than twice as likely to receive welfare assistance. This adds up to billions of dollars nationally each year. Decreasing the number of dropouts per year would produce a $45 billion net economic benefit to society.

In the general population, 18 percent of the adults are dropouts. In prison, that number rises to 41 percent. The annual cost of incarcerating an individual is about $32,000, while the annual cost of a quality public education is about $11,000.

Improving male graduation rates nationwide by only one percent would produce a savings of $1.1 billion in the cost of crime involving prosecution, incarceration, lost wages and reduced productivity for both the victim and the criminal.

National savings in public health care would exceed $40 billion if every high school dropout in just a single year would graduate. High school dropouts are more likely to use public health to the tune of $2,700 per year per person.

Better educated people generally drink less, are healthier and vote more often. They make good citizens. Taking care of our nation’s children while they are in school has broad social and economic benefits for each and every one of us.

And to help this along, all you have to do is buy a notebook or two or a simple box of crayons. Remember how wonderful it was to have that new box of crayons? Don’t forget, it’s Tax Free Weekend for school supplies, too!

There are lots of wonderful things to do on this weekend before school starts. Here’s just an educated guess at some you might like.

Friday, August 21

You might want to get up at the crack of dawn today to go to St. Mary’s 16th Annual Giant Second-Hand Sale (14711 RR 12). The sale starts at 7 a.m. and continues until 7 p.m. today. It’s a huge sale, and you never know what you are going to find. Treasures abound! There are advantages to the early morning run, like cooler weather and better selection. Returning Bobcats take note – this is a great way to furnish your apartment or dorm room with much needed domestic goods.

Rabb Rodriguez y los Killa Hogs start out the evening at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) at 6 p.m. Listening to their deftly funky groove is a spirited way to start out the weekend.

What can be said about Bingo that hasn’t been said before? Great prizes? Sure. Alphabetically challenging? Not really. Fun? Of course. It’s a particularly good time at the Wimberley VFW (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road) on Friday nights. They have all the prizes and the fun and the added plus of great concessions sold by the fine women of the Ladies Auxiliary. It gets started at 6:30 p.m.

This is the last weekend to enjoy the Wimberley Players’ production of “Stop the World I Want To Get Off” at the Wimberley Playhouse (450 Old Kyle Road). Tickets are only $15 and you’ll be singing “What Kind of Fool Am I?” if you don’t go. It’s better to go and let them do the singing. The curtain rises at 8 p.m.

It’s Teen Night at the Kyle Municipal Swimming Pool (1100 West Center Street), and it might be fun for teens to start out the last weekend before school starts with some fun, music and food at the pool. Admission is $4. Teens between 13-18 will have the pool all to themselves between 8-10 p.m.

Wake the Dead features Crack in the Wall tonight at 8 p.m. Some of their coffee would go mighty good with the music.

If you shake up Woody Guthrie, Southern fried rock and Outlaw Country music together in a bag, you’ll get an approximate amalgam of Red Dirt music. Brandon Jenkins, appearing at the Cheatham Street Warehouse tonight (119 Cheatham Street) has got the red dirt in him somewhere, a transplant to Texas from Oklahoma. If the Red Dirt sound has to be explained, we’ll go for intensely heartfelt, and Jenkins’ music is that, for sure.

If you’ve never seen Donny Waits, appearing at Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102) tonight at 9 p.m., you might be surprised at the depth of this talented young songwriter. His words, his voice and his music are uniquely his own. We think you’ll be impressed.

Triple Crown presents a bill of local favorites tonight starting at 9 p.m. The evening includes the boisterous and poppy punk of Zlam Dunk, local alterna-heroes The Couch, and southern fried maestros CactusRash. Appearing with them is Southeast Texas’ Barely Blind, which will start a tour of the Midwest in support of its current release, “Life With A Giant,” in September. Bring your earplugs. It’s going to be a bumpy and fun night of music.

Saturday, August 22

Get up a little early this morning and help the San Marcos River Foundation clear invasive plants from the river at the Aquarena Center (601 University Drive) from 8-11 a.m. During a drought like this, the Elephant Ear and other invasive plants can be particularly persnickety, taking much needed water and nutrients from the river.

Speaking of the river, this might be a nice weekend for one last picnic down by the river before the school year starts and everybody’s schedule go haywire. Take along an extra garbage bag and do a bit of river bank clean-up while you are at it. Your river, and your kids, will thank you.

The Wimberley Valley Art League’s Juried Exhibition at the Wimberley Community Center (14070 RR 12) is open from 1-5 p.m. The exhibition was juried by Erik Nielsen, chair, of the art and design department at Texas State. A juried exhibition appoints a juror or jurors, usually professionals in the field of art, to select works of art based on artistic merit from a pool of submitted works. The final selections then comprise the exhibit. This is a long way of saying you are going to see some good stuff there.

The Wimberley Players will stop the world long enough for you to get out of your car at the Wimberley Playhouse and see their production of “Stop the World I Want To Get Off.” It’s their final evening performance, and they’ve had a long run with the musical, so you will see a well-seasoned performance at 8 p.m.

There is nobody quite like Hayes Carll when it comes to clever lyrical ironies and good old, down home pickin’ on the gee-tar. He’s a reflective observer without a lick of spite. This is a don’t miss gig for music lovers. His voice is pleasing, his drawl is pure Texas (he’s from the Houston area) and he embodies all the good things that country music can be in the 21st century. In other words, we like him, we really, really like him. See for yourself at

The Kings of Hard Luck are a blend of Southern Rock and Country that is mighty appealing to the ear. They’ll be at Riley’s tonight at 9 p.m., and they are always a good time.

The Columnists are a clever band who will delight you with their interesting rhythmic segues and witty lyrics. They are at Wake the Dead Coffee House tonight at 9:30 p.m.

Triple Crown has another great triple gig for a Saturday night full of good music. Austin’s Country-Pop meister Clay Nightingale is having a CD release gig there tonight. He’s joined by the awesome Silver Pines and Agent Ribbons. The show should be a great one, and you’ll be glad you dropped in to see it.

Sunday, August 23

Wake the Dead Coffee House is a great place to get a relaxing cup of Joe and start the morning. It’s even greater when you can hear Day Jazz with Scotty, Ike and Josh from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., like you can today.

What a nice day to drop by the Wimberley Community Center and take a look at the juried art exhibit. Staffed with members of the Wimberley Valley Art League, the exhibit is open from 1-5 p.m.

The final matinee of the Wimberley Players in the musical, “Stop the World I Want To Get Off,” starts today at 2:30 p.m. It’s your last chance to see them, and the last time we’ll be telling you what kind of fools we are for making all the world stopping jokes.

CasiNada Cooks! (600 Caliche Road in Wimberley) is having another delectable cooking class meal today, starting at 3 p.m. Today’s menu features pan-seared tuna with wasabi soy sauce, smoked catfish with tomatillo sauce, poached salmon with lemon herbed mayonnaise and shrimp boiled in CasiNada spices served with chipotle mayonnaise. Makes one hungry just reading it, huh?

The class is titled, not surprisingly, “4 Fish and a Sauce for Each.” The class is $65 per person and reservations are required. Call (512) 847-3779 or email

If you’d rather dance the afternoon away, just head to the Geronimo VFW (6806 North Highway 123) in beautiful downtown Geronimo for the Sunday Afternoon Dance. Klassic Country Gold will be makin’ music for the boot scootery. This dance is to benefit the VFW’s Military Assistance Program, so a $5 donation will be collected at the door. The hall and the kitchen open at 2 p.m. The dance starts at 3 p.m. For more information, call (830) 303-9903.

Maybe all this back-to-school shopping has gotten you a little tense? It might be a good day for a chair massage with the magic fingers of Bob Steine at Wake the Dead Coffee House. He’ll be there from 4-7 p.m.

The Wine Cellar (corner of LBJ Drive and East Hopkins Street) has a doozy of a Readers’ Theater today from 4-6:30 p.m. Three short plays from award winning playwright Romulus Linney will be read by an all-star cast of college educators.

The Readers’ Theater is free, but it is so popular that reservations are required. Call (512) 805-9463 or make a reservation online at Light hors d’ oeuvres will be served and dinner reservations will be accepted for after the play.

Tonight, you may see a star in the making if you go to open mic night at the Triple Crown or Riley’s. Maybe it will even be you.

All weekend, the Ovation channel will reprise this week’s “The Good, the Bard and the Ugly” Shakespeare movie festival. You can see Ian McKellen in the Third-Reich-esque re-staging of Richard III, and the incredibly moving contemporary setting for Hamlet featuring Kyle MacLachlin and Ethan Hawke. Tom Stoppard both directed and adapted the movie version of his play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” with Tim Roth and Gary Oldman playing the hapless leads. The festival also includes great versions of The Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

All these productions are remarkably good, do not feature Mel Gibson, and are well worth the watching. You can see Richard III at 4:30 p.m. and Hamlet at 7 p.m. today. You will be startled at how well Shakespeare transcends the ages.

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