The late artist, collector and philanthropist Linda Pace maintained that “contemporary art is essential to a dynamic society.” While her convictions live on at Artpace (the revered residency program and “laboratory of dreams” she launched in 1995) and the Linda Pace Foundation (which “fosters the creation, presentation and understanding of innovative expression through contemporary art”), Pace also left enduring impressions on San Antonio’s art scene at large—not to mention artists and curators around the world. Inspired by Pace and organized by Ballroom Marfa co-founder/executive director Fairfax Dorn, Artpace’s new group show “Localized Histories” (drawn from the Linda Pace Foundation Collection) addresses “the various formal and conceptual issues of space, time, process and material” via works rooted in assemblage or rendered with found objects. Housed in the Hudson (Show)Room, the exhibition comprises works by Pace, Leonardo Drew, Tony Feher, Isa Genzken, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Thomas Hirschhorn and Christian Marclay. Running concurrently in the gallery’s Main Avenue windows, local artist Julia Barbosa Landois’ installation Buried, Not Dead takes cues from the toiling and tunneling of ant farms to reference “the paths of one’s ancestors migrating upward through history and geography.” Free, 6-9pm (with a performance by Landois at 7:30pm) Thursday, Artpace, 445 N Main, (210) 212-4900, artpace.org.
Photo credit: Isa Genzken, Untitled, 2004. Detail. Courtesy of the Linda Pace Foundation.
2. Patricia Vonne CD Release
Rattle My Cage, the new record from singer-songwriter, activist and actress Patricia Vonne, is as diverse as her own interests. Vonne shows her grit on bluesy rockers like the title track, but offers a glimpse of her softer side on the Spanish-language ballad “Qué Maravilla” too. The rollicking country-rock song “This Cat’s in the Doghouse” puts Vonne’s playful nature on display, but then she deftly switches gears with the soulful, romantic flamenco number “Dulce Refugio.” Vonne even closes with an instrumental Americana-meets-flamenco number, “Mexicali de Chispa,” just to prove she can let the music do the talking. This show is a release party for Rattle My Cage, which includes her own songs and others by Michael Martin, Alejandro Escovedo and her filmmaker brother Robert Rodríguez. With the Infidels. $9-$12, 8:30pm Thursday, Sam’s Burger Joint, 330 E Grayson, (210) 223-2830, samsburgerjoint.com.
3. Tribute to Johnny Cash
On the 10th anniversary of his death, the Man in Black is as present as ever—this year has seen new books and new remastered editions of music by the man who both started calling himself “Johnny” and met his first wife while living in San Antonio in 1951 during training at Lackland. His influence transcends folk and country, powerfully impacting rock as well. On Thursday, the younger generation pays tribute to Cash with short sets by Lorita Drive, Garrett T Capps, Ernesto Slick (Slick Dickens), and Rumors/You and I Underwater frontman Michael Christopher, as well as a special extended set featuring vocal takes from Lonely Horse and Sandoz (all backed by a house band featuring members of Sugar Skulls, Solaroid and Pop Pistol), and burlesque by Austin’s Fifi Switchblade. $3-$5, 10pm Thursday, Nightrocker Live, 605 San Pedro, (210) 265-3573, nightrockerlive.net.
4. Échale! Latino Music Estyles with Piñata Protest & Making Movies
Afro-Latin alternative band Making Movies comes from Kansas City, Mo., but they’re honorary San Antonians. Their friendship and mutual admiration society with Pop Pistol made it possible for them to play in each other’s hometowns on repeated occasions, but this one’s a special gig for MM: it’s the launching of this fall’s free Échale! Latino Music Estyles series at the Pearl. Sharing the bill will be local conjunto-punk heroes Piñata Protest, and write this down: the series will continue October 4 with Mexico’s Carla Morrison (who had to cancel a show in the previous series) and Austin’s David Garza (singer-songwriter’s heaven), and November 8 with Guadalajara’s Los Master Plus and Austin/Corpus Christi’s Master Blaster Sound System (an electro cumbia-fusion fan’s dream). Bring your lawn chairs if you think you’ll be able to sit still—the Échale series tends to keep us on our toes. Free, 7pm Friday, Pearl Amphitheatre, 100 E Grayson, pearlechale.com.
5. Lisa Marie Presley
Not only has Lisa Marie Presley, whose lovely T-Bone Burnett-produced Storm & Grace invites comparisons to Gwen Stefani and Lucinda Williams, been recording albums for more than a decade, her musical roots extend all the way back to the King himself, no, the other one, Michael Jackson. You may remember Presley from her appearance in the video for her then-husband (!) Jackson’s 1995 single, “You Are Not Alone.” But her musical pedigree goes all the way back to her birth. Presley spent the first years of her life at Graceland, a vast estate clearly inspired by Paul Simon’s 1986 masterwork of the same name. It sucks to reference other artists when discussing Presley’s work, but that rich musical heritage is completely evident. Also, she survived being married to Nicolas Cage for more than 100 days. Nicolas Cage. Think about that. $30, 8pm Friday, Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene (New Braunfels), (830) 606-1281, gruenehall.com.
6. The Big Lebowski & Raising Arizona
Proven by the viral success of Belgian graphic designer Tom Muller’s art project The Coenfographic—which maps out 96 characters, 50 actors and 15 films spanning 25-plus years—the Coen brothers’ filmography provides a fascinating ride. Before it achieved must-see status, 1987’s Raising Arizona (starring Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage as a pair of Huggies-heisting baby thieves) got dissed by critics as lifeless and forced. (The Chicago Tribune even likened it to “an episode of Hee Haw directed by an amphetamine-crazed Orson Welles.”) Based loosely on Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled mysteries, 1998’s The Big Lebowski (starring Jeff Bridges as “The Dude,” a bowling slacker who also gets entangled in a kidnapping scenario) flopped at the box-office but emerged as a quotable sleeper classic. $5 donation, begins at dusk Friday, Alamo Street Eat Bar, 609 S Alamo, slabcinema.com.
7. Tegan and Sara
This is turning out to be a monumental year for Tegan and Sara. If they aren’t already on your radar, we dare you to take one listen to Heartthrob and not love it. In their first true venture into the pop world (notwithstanding previous EDM collaborations with David Guetta, Tiesto and Morgan Page), the twins didn’t just decide to not shy away from a pop sound—they set out to crush it, tackling the mainstream with the same integrity and vulnerability that they built their careers on. “It was time to update the ‘Tegan and Sara sound,’” said Tegan in press materials. “We wanted to cover topics like love and relationships but from a different angle. I’d never romanticized love the way that I did on this record before. I had never written a romantic, sweet, nostalgic love song. I had never been bold before.” What resulted was Heartthrob, their seventh studio album. Released on January 29, it entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 3, their highest chart position to date. The super catchy, crush-inducing single “Closer” was featured on Glee and is receiving radio play on Top 40 stations across the country, something that previously eluded them. “No one will confuse this with any of our other records,” Sara said. “It’s got a bigger, bolder, happier sound.” The duo is also receiving significant attention for some recent live collaborations. At the Osheaga Festival on August 3, they joined Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for a beautiful performance of the LGBT anthem “Same Love.” On August 20, the sisters made a surprise appearance at Taylor Swift’s Red Tour in Los Angeles to sing “Closer.” “I think this album is one of my favorites of all time,” said Swift at the show. No small praise from one of pop’s current queens. In fact, the admiration doesn’t stop with Swift; everyone from the Black Keys—who took them out on tour last year—to the National have shown Tegan and Sara much love lately. Heartthrob is an ambitious title to live up to, but the self-admitted NKOTB fans definitely deliver on the moniker. The twins balance the lyrics sublimely with empowering anthems and aching vulnerability all in the same breath. The polished pop gems inspire reflection on your childhood crushes, your first love and subsequent heartbreaks. They also cause a bunch of booty shaking and fist pumping. Breaking away from their current opening act duties touring with fun., Tegan and Sara will headline Saturday at Sunset Station, where you can show off those dance moves you’ve been practicing in your room while you sing along to “Closer.” $29-$31, doors at 6pm Saturday, Sunset Station, 1174 E Commerce, (210) 222-9481, frontgatetickets.com.
8. Disposable Camera Auction
The Lullwood Group is among 80 organizations hosting happenings in partnership with the Texas Biennial. In keeping with its mission to “encourage audience participation, foster exploration and promote art discovery in many forms,” the collective’s latest endeavor puts an intriguing spin on the silent art auction. In addition to tasking 11 artists with using disposable cameras to “shoot a collection of images portraying their process, inspiration, or whatever moves them,” the project will tempt art fans to bid on the undeveloped rolls of film. If you enjoy surprises and the work of Ken Little, Nate Cassie, Ethel Shipton, Katie Pell, Ana Fernandez, Cathy Cunningham Little, Mat Kubo, Carlos Donjuan, Wayne Gilbert, Margarita Cabrera or Gary Sweeney, don’t miss this auction, which equally benefits the artists and the Lullwood Group. Free, 6-10pm Saturday, 107 Gallery, 107 Lone Star.
Baby FL!GHT’s all growed-up. Kind of. Celebrating a dubious 11-year birthday, the irreverent gallery is throwing herself one hell of a party. All 59 of her closest pals will be there, packing their works into the small, but influential, anchor of the ever-burgeoning South Flores arts district. See both Gary Sweeney and Franco Mondini-Ruiz’ work (read their interview here), as well as pieces by San Antonio art world heavyweights too numerous to name, many of whom had early shows at FL!GHT. The gallery has always happily entertained guests at openings, art school credentials or not, and so it goes with this shindig, which will feature “live glass-twerking” by Zollie Glass Studio All Stars and music by Phil Luna and DJ Rasta Mike in addition the dizzying display of art. Free, 7-10pm Saturday, FL!GHT, 1906 S Flores, turnitoff.tv. Through Nov 4.
Photo credit: "Baroque-en Butterfly," mixed media on paper, Gabriel Diego Delgado.
10. Chicha Libre at the International Accordion Festival
The International Accordion Festival has never been this psychedelic: Chicha Libre, a Brooklyn-based band of musicians from France, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico, will debut in San Antonio on Sunday and could be the highlight of the festival. “Chicha Libre is a lot of fun,” said Cathy Ragland, the festival’s curator. “They’re a great group but they’re really kind of ethnographers, music researchers who have discovered a tradition by listening to records that were popular in the ’60s and ’70s.” That tradition is chicha (pronounced CHEE-cha), a form of forgotten psychedelic Peruvian cumbia from the ’60s and ’70s. My advice: get The Roots of Chicha 1 and 2 (historic compilations released in 2007 and 2012, respectively, by Barbès Records) and Chicha Libre’s own Canibalismo (2012). While you’re at it, check their 2013 cover of “The Guns of Brixton” on the Cuatro Tigres EP. If you’re not immediately hooked, there’s no hope for you. “It’s chicha, but most importantly, it’s free, liberating music,” said Olivier Conan, who sings and plays the Venezuelan cuatro, a small, guitar-like instrument. A Parisian who fell in love with chicha in 2004 while vacationing in Lima, Peru, he decided to release The Roots of Chicha compilations on his label, and the albums’ success inspired him to form the band, which goes beyond the genre and has elements of Brazil’s tropicália and Afrobeat. “Chicha literally changed my life in a very surprising way, I had no idea all this was going to happen,” Conan said. For their first SA performance ever, Chicha Libre’s keyboardist Joshua Campbell will play a MIDI accordion and percussionist Karina Colis (teaching in India) will be replaced by Venezuelan Pablo Bencid on timbales. Expect plenty of solos and a practical demonstration of why chicha is suddenly cool after being dismissed as “low-class” music during in its heyday, as was the case with so many Afro-Latin rhythms in the past. Ironically, the band’s distinctive sound (a mix of electric guitar picking and Farfisa-sounding keyboards) mimics that of a Hohner Electravox, an instrument originally manufactured for accordionists who couldn’t get gigs anymore and needed a groovier sound. “The accordion was considered to be the most uncool instrument, and the same thing happened with chicha, but 50 years later the music’s suddenly cool,” said Conan. “And the reason it is cool is because the music is inherently cool. It has that vintage vibe from the ’70s that people really like, but in a live setting we really stretch it.” Free, 8:30pm Sunday, Maverick Plaza, La Villita, 418 Villita, internationalaccordionfestival.org.