Recent Current covergirl Tencha La Jefa hosts an evening showcasing Raja Gemini, Manila Luzon, Carmen Carrera, and Delta Work — a quartet of queens dubbed The Heathers on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The fierce drag clique shares the stage with RLE showgirls Toni R. Andrews, Nilaya Milan Raven, and Kylie Crawford in what’s billed as “The Best 4th of July Celebration in Texas.” $15-$20, 11:30pm Thursday, The Saint Showbar, 800 Lexington, (210) 225-7330, facebook.com/reylopezentertainment.
2. Stars and Stripes over San Antonio
Fans of last year’s epic, 20 minute-long fireworks display at HemisFair downtown should prepare for a repeat. In additon to the boom-boom show (set to a patriotic music score), families can enjoy a kids activity area, food trucks including Saweet Cupcakes, Sabor Colombiano, and K Hill BBQ Co., and a performance by top 40 cover band The Klocks. $2 (free for kids under 12, and active duty military), 6-10pm (fireworks start at 9:30pm) Thursday, HemisFair Park, 434 S Alamo, starsandstripesoversanantonio.com
3. "Things That Make You Go Hmmm"
In the days when he had his own talk show (1989-1994), actor/comic Arsenio Hall joked that he commuted (by car) from his hometown of Cleveland to work in L.A. (a 34-hour drive). Musings from these alleged trips led to “Things That Make You Go Hmmm...” — a recurring segment that inspired C+C Music Factory’s 1991 hit single of the same name. The phrase and concept get repurposed this month in a group show organized by Houston-born UTSA grad student and Hunting Art Prize finalist Raul Gonzalez. Whether painting, drawing, or installing conceptual “public art” installations (including road signs emblazoned with messages like “Work Harder” and “Hope Still Ahead”), Gonzalez meshes fact and fiction with technical mastery. Artists Roberto Celis (Allendale, Va.), Lee Peterson (Brownsville), and Nico Whittaker (Buenos Aires, Argentina) join Gonzalez for the 2013 remix of “Things That Make You Go Hmmm,” a multimedia exploration of identity, culture, work, communication, and “social expectations” that comes complete with a gift shop stocked with items priced under $100. Free, 6-9pm Friday, UTSA Satellite Space, 115 Blue Star, (210) 212-7146, art.utsa.edu. Through July 21.
4. Summer Festival Kick-Off
Founded by Nan Cuba in 1997, Gemini Ink champions the power of words with programs like Dramatic Readers Theater, Writers in Communities, Open Classroom, University Without Walls, and the free monthly Book Plática Series. While it stays active year-round, the nonprofit literary arts center kicks into high gear for its Summer Literary Festival, a month of classes, camps, special events, and workshops covering an array of genres and styles — from steampunk and sports to poetry and horror. Dubbed “The Writers’ Roadtrip,” the fest (July 5-August 10) promises to unfold the “roadmap” to creative writing and discovery. The festivities kick off on First Friday with a free party to welcome summer faculty with food, fun, an open mic, and live music by award-winning indie-rock trio Pop Pistol (above). Free, 6:30-8:30pm Friday, Gemini Ink, 513 S Presa, (210) 734-9673, geminiink.org.
5. Ryan Bingham
Ryan Bingham’s career didn’t start with the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy he won in 2010 for “The Weary Kind,” included in the soundtrack to Crazy Heart. His first major label albums — 2007’s Mescalito and 2009’s Roadhouse Sun — are critically acclaimed examples of cool, smart, edgy Americana, and the two follow-ups (2010’s Junky Star, his most commercially successful album, and 2012’s Tomorrowland, arguably his finest and hardest-rocking) only cemented his reputation as a top-notch singer-songwriter who’s beyond genres. Now living in Los Angeles, the former Texas bull rider (who released his latest record on his own label) is finally in absolute control of his career. Come to New Braunfels and celebrate one of the wisest career-change decisions ever made. With Oklahoma’s Turnpike Troubadours, who are enjoying the success of their breakthrough album Goodbye Normal Street. $20.63-$660, 8pm Friday, Whitewater Amphitheatre, 11860 FM 306, New Braunfels, (830) 964-3800, ticketfly.com.
6. Official First Saturday
Connecting cultures and communities through music and art is the name of the game for G. Tomas Vasquez, a scene champ who produces the body art competition Beyond the Canvas and the decade-strong Amps & Easels Festival. Since 2006, Vasquez’s Official First Saturday showcase has featured upwards of 100 bands and DJs while club-hopping across town. For its fifth anniversary, OFS takes over Fitzgerald’s with more than a dozen artists selling work and creating interactive paintings. In addition to live music by bilingual rockers Los de Esta Noche, indie-ska outfit Bite Lip Bleed, Chicano punks Viet-Ruse (above), ska band Spies Like Us, and Tex-Mex psychobilly quartet Mariachis del Infierno, the event promises free hot dogs and Independence Day-themed margaritas and shots. $5-$7, 9pm-2am Saturday, Fitzgerald’s Bar & Live Music, 437 McCarty, (210) 629-5141, facebook.com/OfficialFirstSaturday.
7. The Toadies
Back in the glory days of post-grunge, if you’d tried to pick one band who’d still be roaring after 20 years, Fort Worth’s Toadies would have been a longshot. Yet here we are, nearly two full decades after “Possum Kingdom” put them on the map, strong as ever. After a five-year R&R in the mid-2000s, Vaden Todd Lewis and his gang of ne’er-do-wells have built an impressive presence as the kind of regional favorite that never really goes away, thanks to a breathless tour schedule, a reputation for rip-snorting live shows, and a remarkably devoted fan base. They’ve even got their own music festival – but before Dia de los Toadies rolls around, they’ll bring their guitar attack to WhiteWater for a show with the Dirty River Boys and Cody Canada & the Departed. $15.71-$554.27, 8pm Saturday, WhiteWater Amphitheater, 11860 FM Highway 306, New Braunfels, (830) 964-3800, ticketfly.com.
8. Dee Dee Rocks Reloaded
Dee Dee Williams, former singer of Lost in Space, promoter, original owner of Texas Trash, and iconic figure of the local scene since the ’80s, was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident years ago and now lives in a rehab home. The “Dee Dee Rocks Reloaded” fundraiser will be at Nightrocker Live on July 6 from 7pm to 2am and will feature live music (Hogbitch, Scorpio Rising, Dixie Hammers, and more), DJs (DJ Plata, DJ Viejo), 15-minute chair massages by Tranquil Therapeutic Massage and other surprises. The big headliner comes from the ’70s and ’80s: Austin/SA’s The Next (above), which reunite with all but one of the original members. $5, 7pm-2am Saturday, Nightrocker Live, 605 San Pedro, (210) 265-3573, nightrockerlive.net.
9. The Summer Makes Me Want You Fest
In a perfect world, perhaps shows like The Summer Makes Me Want You Fest would be a monthly occurrence here in Saytown. One of our best and most storied live venues plays host to a huge amount of local musical and artistic talent, the cover is cheap, and the local music fan benefits right along with young bands looking for a larger audience. We’re excited to see grunge-folk freaks Lonely Horse (above), fresh off a tour, young garage-pop-rock outfit Islands & Tigers, fresh off releasing an awesome new record, and Edwin Jered Stephens (formerly of Blowing Trees) with his new spiritually-charged experimental soul-rock collective Fishermen. But all 17 bands on this bill are worth watching. Our recommendation is to arrive early and stay late. $10, doors at 3:30pm Saturday, The White Rabbit, 2410 N St Mary’s, (210) 737-2221, sawhiterabbit.com.
Seattle’s Motive (now residing in Brooklyn) likes to describe itself as a mix between Nirvana and the Strokes, but they’re definitely closer to the latter. With just an EP and two singles to their credit, their video for “What’s So Bad?” reached number 2 on MTV’s “Most Popular Video” list, not bad for an unsigned band. Besides singer Nicholas Wold’s voice a la Julian Casablancas, the clean guitars and harmonies, and the strong songs, the band’s solid jazz foundation puts them on a different level. And if you wonder what’s with the suits, they told CBS News they adopted the style after filming the video for “It’s Illicit.” “If you wear a suit and walk around with someone pointing a camera at you, people will just jump into your arms,” said drummer Chris Bagamery. Also on the bill: Ex-Machine, The Good & The Quiet, Crown, and Broken Buffalo. $5, doors at 9pm, Motive at 12:30am Saturday, Limelight, 2718 N St. Marys, thelimelightsa.com.
Check out our full online calendar of upcoming events here: calendar.sacurrent.com.