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

May 28th, 2010
The Weekend: Three days for swimmin', listenin' and rememberin'


Southside Union will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse on Saturday night.

Scene Editor

It’s an interesting little fact to consider, on Memorial Day, that General Robert E. Lee and General Ulysses S. Grant both served under General Winfield Scott in the Mexican War.  Lee was a captain at the time and Grant was a lieutenant. Lee, by the way, was second in his class at West Point, while Grant was a “C” student. If you have never read Grant’s memoirs, we highly recommend them. He had very mixed feelings about the Mexican War.

Have you ever seen that “King of The Hill” episode about General Santa Anna’s leg being stolen? Well, it wasn’t Texans who stole that leg. It was part of the Illinois Volunteers  who came from our hometown, Pekin, IL. The Illinois guys didn’t even know it was Santa Anna when they came upon a group from the Mexican army.

They didn’t know until they found the leg, and a trunk full of gold and a partially eaten roast chicken dinner. They took the leg as a souvenir, gave the army paymaster the gold and ate the chicken dinner. That should show you what the priorities are in our neck of the woods. Food. Santa Anna was rushed away by his men, probably while the Illinois guys were eating the chicken dinner. If only they’d known who they had ambushed, it’s said, it could have shortened the war by six months.

The leg is still on display in Illinois with the Illinois National Guard in Springfield. Mexico didn’t want it at the time, and neither did Texas. There was a bill in Congress during World War II to give the leg back to Mexico as part of a deal to encourage Mexico to side with us against the enemy. It was defeated. The opposition to the bill said they “didn’t have a leg to stand on.” So much for Congressional humor.

This Memorial Day, it’s a good idea to honor all who served our country. They put their lives on the line for us.

But being from Illinois, we’d also suggest food, especially barbecue. We’re glad to be in Texas, where folks actually know how to do it.

Here are a few more suggestions for your long weekend’s enjoyment.

Friday, May 28

Well, it’s going to be a charmingly sunny, or relentlessly hot weekend. Take your pick. RC Banks started off the music at Triple Crown (206 North Edward Gary) at 6 p.m. Banks is so special that we wish every band, no matter the genre, would take a page from his gritty rootsy take on roadhouse confessional music. He has just the right mix of enthusiastic spirit and don’t-give-a-darn cool.

The VFW posts have always filled in the considerable gaps that exist in programs to help veterans. One of the most painless ways to help the Wimberley VFW Post (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road) is to play a little bingo. You’ll have a great time at this mainstay bingo game while you are giving a little to their efforts. Plus, there are the tasty snacks sold by the fine women of the Ladies Auxiliary in support of their programs, as well. The cage starts turning at 7 p.m.

Greased lightning! Danny Zuko, Kenickie, Rizzo and Sandy will all be brought to life in the EmilyAnn Theatre’s (1101 FM 2325) production of “Grease” tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 ( student $10) and available online at or at the door. Since the popular musical first hit Broadway, it has been delighting audiences in movies and countless revivals. Whether you can sing along with every song or you’ve never seen it before, you will enjoy the charming outdoor setting of the EmilyAnn Theatre as they transport you back to the fifties.

Ben Morris and the Great American Boxcar Chorus will be at Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102). Voted Live Band of the Year at last year’s Texas Music Awards, the band plays a solid set. Morris’ distinctive voice could easily slip into a corny sentimental tune, but he holds it poised far above such slop, keeping it on target with the band’s straight forward indie-country beat.

Singer/songwriter Tony Taylor’s fingers play nimbly on his guitar, accompanying his beautiful voice. We know guys rarely like to be called beautiful, but it’s true. His voice has a deep beauty. You can hear this for yourself tonight at the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 RR 12) around 10 p.m.

Somewhere between punk and progressive and mathrock lie the Organics, appearing tonight at the Triple Crown. They are well matched by the rhythmically funky Sabrosa Union. The gig should be pretty loud and proud.

At the Cheatham Street Warehouse(119 Cheatham Street), three-time Texas Music Award’s Musician of the Year, Big John Mills, will be throwin’ down the tunes and takin’ names. Having recently won his third award this month, the gig should be a happy hoe-down of music and good times. Mills and his band, the Texas Road Dawgs, play with a lilting Western Swing country style that will lift you out of your troubles and pull you plumb out of your shoes. Our favorite Mills song may be “I Got the Dog And He Got You,” with its chorus of “He thinks that he’s the winner but he doesn’t have a clue/ ’cause I got the dog and he got you.” The always awesome Crystal Creek Boys will open and warm up the audience with their patented San Martian Bluegrass. If you’ve never seen Mills, prepare to be amazed at his and the band’s musical magic. If you have seen him, you probably don’t need me to tell you to be there.

Saturday, May 29

This morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be a “Market on the Square” in downtown San Marcos on the San Antonio Street side of the Hays County Courthouse. The event will feature vendors selling produce and crafts.  The event is sponsored by the San Marcos/ New Braunfels Farmers Market Association, Tantra Coffeehouse and the City of San Marcos. The goal is to set up weekly markets every Saturday on the square with music, produce sellers and other vendors. How cool is that? Go out there and make the day a success! Don’t forget that this means San Antonio Street will be closed to traffic between LBJ Drive and the alley near Gordo’s while the event is going on. Oh, almost forgot to mention that there will be a bouncy castle for kids, there, too!

A Memorial Day ceremony  conducted by the city will take place today at the San Marcos Cemetery (1001 RR 12). The public is invited to attend. The city cemetery is the burial ground of veterans of wars dating back to the war of 1812, as well as a host of Texas pioneers. The cemetery was founded in 1874. There’s a lot of history whispering through it.

Pools and swimming holes will be opening today all over the area, and it will certainly be hot enough to take a nice, cool swim. The Rio Vista Pool (555 Cheatham Street) opens at noon today ( $2 for children, $3 for adults) and will be be open until 6 p.m. Ditto for Sunday and Monday. The Cypress Falls Swimming and Fishing Hole (1 Woodcreek Circle in Wimberley) opens from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. today (children $3, adults $7). The Blue Hole swimming area (children $3, adults $7) in Wimberley opens from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. There’s nothing that says the start of summertime like a good outdoor swim.

Speaking of swimming, your river needs you. Did you know that you and your family can adopt a section of the San Marcos River? What with the summer coming on, we really all could lend a hand in controlling the litter at that gorgeous river. The adoption process involves cleaning your spot at least four times per year. Your scout troop could do it, your band could do it, even your book club could do it. It’s a great way to keep the river and San Marcos beautiful. Contact Heather Powdrill at (512) 393-8420 or email her at

One more watery activity to consider — the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association offers ecological tours of the Jacobs Well Natural Area every Saturday except holidays at 10 a.m. at 221 Woodacre Drive. The tours are free, but donations are welcomed. Call (512) 722-3390 or email for more information.

Soprano Kate Harrod will be featured at a Memorial Day concert today on the patio at Alexandra’s House (250 Hugo Road). She will sing some opera and some modern music. The event honors women affected by war. Tickets are $20 at the door. RSVP to

Back in 1971, when Richard Gere was just a name in the phone book, he was the understudy in the original Broadway cast of Grease for the parts of Danny Zuko, Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine. While he never made it to that production, he did star as Danny in the original London production in 1973. Who knows what future superstars are in the EmilyAnn Theatre’s rendition of “Grease,” presented tonight at 8 p.m.? The musical is directed by Bridget Farias.

Tom Gillam wasn’t born in Texas, but we won’t hold that against him, since he sounds so Texas that it makes up for his natal misfire. He’s one of those folks that got here as soon as he could, and you’ll be glad he did when you here the Tom Gillam band tonight at Riley’s Tavern. His songs smack of barbecue and lonely Texas nights, and he can rock with the best of them.

The Belgraves rack up big points for naming the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black as an influence, let alone knowing who they are. By the by, they are much better than said Karen Black-named band, with more musical proficiency and goth attitude. They will be at Triple Crown tonight with the extremely fast and furious Horrifics and San Antonio’s Saturday Night Shockers, who’s vocalist, Chuck Fears, may have the edge on vocal quality. If you have any of that black lipstick left from your goth days, this would be the gig at which to wear it. We think this line-up is particularly good, by the way, and punk will be gothed tonight.

The Cheatham Street Warehouse features some Class A local talent tonight with Southside Union and Texas FX. Both bands represent what is good in alt country rock, that amalgam of old style country sensibilities with rock and roll. If you haven’t heard either of these bands, you should go now, before you have to mortgage your house to see ’em live when they get super famous.

The Trey Stapleton Band will play at the Gray Horse Saloon tonight with Bus To Brooklyn. The Trey Stapleton Band sings songs that tell stories on themselves with a country style. Bus to Brooklyn is more rock than Americana, but they have a huge asset in vocalist Jesse Felder, who knows how to belt it out. The whole band is pretty amazing. It’s worth a cover charge, but you won’t pay one at the Gray Horse Saloon (Thank you, Gray Horse guys), so go see ’em now.

Sunday, May 30

Take your camera out today and get some shots of beautiful San Marcos. The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance is sponsoring its sixth annual Naturescapes Photography Contest, and the subject matter should be focused on the unique beauty of the natural areas within San Marcos.  A $200 prize will be awarded for Best in Show and $150 will go to the best San Marcos area photo. Up to four $100 Awards of Excellence will be presented for the next most outstanding photographs. Entries must be submitted online or in person no later than 5 p.m. on July 12. See the details at

The country swing of Hayden C. James will be at the Geronimo VFW’s (6806 North Highway 123) Sunday afternoon dance today at 3:30 p.m. It’s only $7 at the door to trip the light country fantastic, and the proceeds go towards veteran’s programs. James has an old-time country feel that will delight you.

What do Stockard Channing, Adrienne Barbeau, Lucy Lawless, Rosie O’Donnell, Debbie Gibson, Linda Blair, Debbie Boone, Sheena Easton, Jasmine Guy, Maureen McCormick, MacKenzie Phillips and Brooke Shields all have in common? No, they didn’t all date Michael Jackson. They all played the role of Rizzo on Broadway in a production of “Grease.” The EmilyAnn Theatre will present their production of the musical tonight at 8 p.m. Be there or be square.

It might be a nice night to head over to the Corral Theatre (Flite Acres Road & FM 3237) and take in a movie. It’s a walk-in outdoor theater where you can enjoy the stars on the screen and the stars in the Texas sky. Tonight’s movie is “Shrek Forever After,” and it starts at what they call “dark-thirty” which is probably, for May, around 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and free for those younger than four. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and your snacks. Snacks are available at a concession stand, as well.

If you want to be the next Paul Potts, you’ve got to get some chops and the mics are open for your practice tonight at Triple Crown and Riley’s. There is karaoke to be had at the Gray Horse if you’d rather just sing along.

Monday, May 31

Don’t forget that on Monday at 10 a.m. there will be a Memorial Day Service at the Hays County Veteran’s Memorial on the corner of East Hopkins Street and Riverside Drive. The public is invited to attend.

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