It may have taken the ascent of Macklemore to seal the deal, but hip-hop has finally transmogrified itself enough to make the likes of Mickey Avalon a superstar. Whether or not you believe his harrowing tales of the worst childhood this side of a Todd Solondz movie, there’s no denying how charismatically he pushes them in lyrical form, and he’s got a compelling stage presence that will be fully on display when he headlines a bill featuring Bryson Brooks and Tricky. Avalon’s come a long way from peddling his wares on the streets of L.A., but he’s brought with him an androgynous glam sexuality straight out of the ’70s and a cocky pop attitude that’s strictly 2013. Those unfamiliar with his strutting stage presence and overblown, sleazy persona may be turned off at first glance, but it’s certainly something to behold in action. $16-$20, 7pm Thursday, Backstage Live, 1305 E Houston, (210) 698-2856, backstagelivesa.com.
The town of Utopia is hard to find on a map, perched at the top of Uvalde County; and with a population under 300, it’s not in the running to become Texas’ next great metropolis. But for the past few years, it’s played host to a crackerjack music festival and this year has the best lineup yet. Those brave enough to camp out for a few days can take in electronic jammers EOTO, punk-bluegrass fusionists Whiskey Shivers, Ubiquity neo-funk combo Orgone, P-Funk vet Bernie Worrell, and razor-quick rap duo Blackalicious–and that’s just on Friday. If you survive until Day 2, you’ll be treated to the likes of Grupo Fantasma, Max Frost and the unpronounceably delightfully Cali dance-punks !!!. With over 35 acts in total, it’s a pretty good deal for the price, and hey, free coffee. $79-$129, 7pm Thursday, 4pm Friday, 11:30am Saturday, Utopiafest Campgrounds, 1555 Lemond (Utopia), (512) 496-2798, utopiafest.com.
3. San Anto Cultural Arts' Peep Show
In anticipation of its annual Huevos Rancheros Gala (set to honor Dr. Ricardo Romo and Ms. Maria Lopez de Leon on October 5 in Plaza Guadalupe), local nonprofit San Anto Cultural Arts presents a preview and silent auction of artwork and memorabilia (including an autographed Rolling Stones guitar and an autographed Beatles album) donated by Romo along with Jimmy James Canales, Adriana Garcia, Arturo Almeida, the Chicana arts collective Más Rudas and other supporters. The "Peep Show" also features eats from Johnny Hernandez' True Flavors Catering (fresh salsa molcajete, Argentinian empanadas and seasoned crispy tostadas), a cash bar, a 3D silent movie screening and music by Agosto Cuellar. $25-$35 donation, 6:30-9pm Friday, Casa Hernán, 411 E Cevallos, sananto.org.
4. “Charming Are Your Unformed Wishes”
In 2006, Katie Pell wowed the local art world as a Texas-based resident in Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence series. Comprised of pinstriped ovens (including one tricked out with hydraulics), detailed vacuum cleaners, chromed toasters and a hand-drawn comic book about a group of women who win a class-action discrimination lawsuit against the fictional retailer Allmart, Pell’s project Bitchen spun lowrider culture and kitchen appliances into an irreverent feminist statement that bridged cultures and left a lasting impression. Frequently addressing the “excruciating negotiations needed when confronting sexism, class and racism,” Pell is an active contributor to San Antonio’s public art landscape and also makes “really great objects she wants to look at for a while.” The Delaware native’s new solo exhibition “Charming Are Your Unformed Wishes” involves a large wooden sculpture, charcoal drawings, comparison collages and nods to both charm bracelets and “cargo cults”—Melanesian happenings typified by the South Pacific island of Tanna’s John Frum movement. Free, 6:30-10pm Friday, Unit B (Gallery), 500 Stieren, (312) 375-1871, unitbgallery.com.
5. San Antonio Four Screening & Talk
In 1994, Elizabeth Ramírez, Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vásquez and Cassandra Rivera (later known as the “San Antonio Four”) were accused by Ramírez’ nieces—then 7 and 9—of horrifying rape crimes and satanic rituals. Like similar cases in the ’80s and ’90s, these accusations seem to have been spurred on by witch-hunts and homophobia. Despite debunked medical evidence and inconsistencies in the victims’ testimonies, the jury convicted all four women, who maintain their innocence. In 2010, The Innocence Project of Texas took up the case. In 2012 one of the victims, now an adult, recanted her story, claiming her father coerced her to make the accusations. Director Deborah S. Esquenazi will screen her documentary, a work-in-progress, followed by a discussion. Free, 7pm Friday, Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, 922 San Pedro, (210) 228-0201, esperanzacenter.org.
6. The Haunted House
Written by the Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254-184 BCE), The Haunted House plays with themes—deceit, partying and debt—modern audiences should find relatable. Set in Athens, the ancient farce takes shape when the crafty slave Tranio learns his master Theuropides is en route back home where his son Philolaches has been cavorting with Philematium (a sexy slave girl he purchased with borrowed money) and his BFF Callidamates for months. Tranio’s scheme to hide the revelers in the house while he convinces Theuropides it’s haunted and vacant works temporarily. Trinity professor and Current contributor Thomas Jenkins’ “moronic new translation” retells the goofy tale of “masters and slaves, prostitutes and poltergeists” with characters like Gluteus, Cantankerus and Viagra. $10-$14, 8pm Friday-Saturday, The Overtime Theater, 1203 Camden, (210) 557-7562, theovertimetheater.org.
7. A Streetcar Named Desire
Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer-winning drama A Streetcar Named Desire is a perennial influence spotted recently in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. (Parallels between tragic heroines suggest Allen’s light-bulb moment arrived when Cate Blanchet played Blanche in Streetcar in 2009.) Originally titled The Poker Night, Williams’ classic steams to a boil in the cramped New Orleans apartment of brutish hunk Stanley Kowalski and his pregnant wife Stella. Leaving Mississippi (and a sexcapade with a teen boy) behind, fragile Southern belle Blanche descends on sister Stella’s complicated life with furs and delusions in tow. Carol Lee Klose directs an R-rated production at the Carver with Sam Carter Gilliam as Blanche, Mindy Fuller as Stella and Rick Frederick as Stanley. $25, 8pm Friday-Saturday, 3pm Sunday, The Little Carver Theatre, 226 N Hackberry, (210)207-2234, streetcarnameddesire.net.
8. Zeptember Classic Rock Art Show & Sale
Ron Campbell, former Beatles animator (of The Beatles TV series and Yellow Submarine fame) is the star of this show and sale with more than just Fab Four goodies: you can also find a rare hand-signed Bob Dylan lithograph, a newly discovered panoramic photo of the Allman Brothers and a limited edition lithograph created and signed by Paul McCartney. Campbell (who also animated shows like The Smurfs, The Jetsons and The Flintstones) will be selling his paintings and doing drawing demos on the spot. Although he wasn’t the only Yellow Submarine animator, he’s credited by Al Brodax (who produced and co-wrote the movie) with “saving” a chaotic project that started the animation process before there was even a script. Free, 10am-9pm Friday-Saturday, noon-6pm Sunday, Wonderland of the Americas, 4522 Fredericksburg, (210) 785-3500, wonderlandamericas.com.
9. Hogbitch Album Release Party
If Hogbitch isn’t the closest thing to a San Antonio supergroup, it’s definitely the loudest. Led by Suzy Bravo on vocals (Suzy Bravo & The Soul Revue), the proto-metal/heavy psych band includes Sanford Allen on guitar, Patrick MacMaghnuis on bass and Chip Alexander on drums, all veterans of bands like Evil Mothers, Boxcar Satan, Hammered and Martyrhead, among others. Self-described as “a murky path between riff-slinging proto-metal heavies like Black Sabbath, Budgie and Blue Oyster Cult and the more abstract sounds of Hawkwind, Ufomammut and Amon Duul II,” Hogbitch is bluesy enough to please those more into music than just volume. The band will premiere the video of “Thrown to the Sky,” included on their self-titled full-length debut, and will perform with an elaborate light show. Music starts at 10 p.m. with Cursus and So Unloved; Hogbitch takes the stage at midnight. $3, 10pm Saturday, Hi-Tones, 621 E Dewey, (210) 785-8777, hogbitchtexas.com.
10. 30th Annual Jazz’SAlive
You would think a 30-year celebration of anything would merit a huge fanfare, big names and a lot of noise. That’s just not the style of Jazz’SAlive, a festival that always chose integrity first—like jazz itself, the only fireworks you see are in the playing. Instead, this year’s edition—taking place Saturday and Sunday at Travis Park—simply invited three survivors of the 1983 festival (Small World, The Regency Jazz Band and First Light featuring Richard García), three huge names from the world of smooth/New Agey jazz (Spyro Gyra, Hiroshima, former Miami Sound Machine saxman Ed Calle), three local favorites (Brett Butler & Joel Dilley, West Side Horns, Tejano/jazz saxophonist Joe Posada), and a legendary master sure to please hard-core jazz fans (Ramsey Lewis), among others. Lewis' 80th (!) album, Taking Another Look, is a clear indication that his set (8:30pm Sunday, main stage), far from a trip to nostalgia, should be a funky showstopper. In addition to Hiroshima (9:30pm Saturday, main stage), and Spyro Gyra (6:30pm Sunday, main stage), other highlights include local heroes West Side Horns (5:30pm Saturday, Jefferson stage) and the duo of singer-pianist Bett Butler and bassist Joel Dilley (2:30pm Saturday, Jefferson stage). Free, 11:30am-11pm Saturday-Sunday, Travis Park, 301 E Travis. See the complete schedule at saparksfoundation.org.