Los Angeles-based multimedia artist Thomas Isaac spent his formative years in the Navajo Nation “making art, playing video games and watching every science-fiction movie ever made.” A self-described “sci-fi geek and former fat kid” with a deep fascination for the mysteries of the universe, Isaac creates intriguing works (encompassing animation, photography and digital media) that address his own bicultural American experience. In 2012, he partnered with the Brooklyn-based design collaborative XLXS to realize plans for Grow Shelter Dos, a dome-like artist residency and gathering space in Shonto, Ariz., inspired by the Navajo architecture of the Hogan. Although the project has been temporarily shelved (only one fifth of its $50,000 Kickstarter goal was met), Isaac launched the product line HozoH (a collaboration with industrial designer Ben Denzinger) in hopes of raising the funds needed to make Grow Shelter Dos a reality. An unlikely marriage of George Lucas’ space epic Star Wars and Kevin Costner’s nouveau Western saga Dances with Wolves, Isaac’s new video piece Stardance plays out as a feature-length mashup that “suspends the linear nature of the original movies and presents a new arena where we begin to question our views of ‘new world,’ ‘exploration’ and ‘record.’” Free, 6-8pm Thu, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, 116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960, bluestarart.org.
Third Chamber Thursdays: Ip Man
The folks at Third Chamber Thursdays (a recurring event celebrating the strong connections between kung-fu and hip-hop) present a screening of Ip Man—Hong Kong-based actor/filmmaker/screenwriter Wilson Yip’s semi biographical film from 2008 loosely based on the life of Yip Man, a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and master of Bruce Lee. According to IMDB contributor Riccardo Amadori, the movie plays out something like this: “In 1935 in Foshan, south China, there are martial arts schools on every street corner. Ip Man is the undisputed martial arts champion, yet he has not devoted himself to teaching. Despite this, it seems that all the kung fu masters of the city are eager to fight him to improve their reputation.” A program of hip-hop videos (6:45) precedes the screening. $12, 7:30pm Thu, Alamo Drafthouse Park North, NW Loop 410, (210) 677-8500, drafthouse.com. —BR
GET REEL: On the Waterfront
“I coulda been a contender,” says boxer-turned-dockworker Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in one of cinema’s most famous lines. “I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront won eight Oscars (including Best Picture) in 1954 and is one of the most representative masterpieces from Hollywood’s attempt at realism, in no small part because it was based on a 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting series by The New York Sun. It is a dark, no bullshit examination on corruption, dreams and, yes, what could have been. On the Waterfront (the eighth best American movie of all time, according to the American Film Institute) launches the McNay’s Get Reel: 60th Anniversary series, which also features The Glenn Miller Story, Rear Window and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Free, 6:30pm Thu, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N New Braunfels, (210) 824-5368, mcnayart.org. —Enrique Lopetegui
Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
Since cutting her first EP in college a decade ago, Thao Nyugen has collaborated with the likes of Joanna Newsom, Andrew Bird, Mirah and plenty of other indie-pop royalty. While Nyugen and her San Francisco-based band certainly belong in that esteemed company, sound-wise they’re on a whole other plane. Stylistically restless and talented, the band seems to revel in unpredictability. Just take a three-song cross-section from the recent LP We the Common, which careens from the New Orleans march of “The Feeling Kind,” to the banjo-bounce of “Holy Roller” and the math rock stomp of “The Day Long.” Live the group is no different, be it on covers or its own back catalog of originals. Expect Thao and the gang to (ahem) get down this Friday at the 502 with a wide-ranging and wholly energetic outing. Also on the bill: Nina Diaz, Bekah Kelso and Hawks (of Holy Rosary). $8, doors at 8pm Fri, 502 Bar, 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com.
Acclaimed alternative country artist James McMurtry’s “Choctaw Bingo” is unquestionably one of the most breathtaking songs of the past 20 years. Don’t take my word for it; in 2009, journalist Ron Rosenbaum described it as “more than just genius; it’s prophetic genius. New-national-anthem-level genius,” and spent the next 2,000-plus words of his Slate column convincing readers it should, in fact, be the new national anthem. I wish Rosenbaum’s argument had succeeded, if only because I want to hear fat cats at championship ball games bashfully singing about a family reunion held in an Oklahoma Airstream where the paterfamilias is a meth cook with a mail-order bride. Even better than that might be seeing McMurtry in person—it’s not for nothing his big break came with his Live in Aught Three concert album. Anthem or no, this guy, with his eloquent sketches of inelegant lives, is a national treasure, so strap them kids in and head up to Helotes to check him out. $15, 9pm Fri, John T. Floore Country Store, 14492 Old Bandera, (210) 695-8827, ticketfly.com. —Callie Enlow
Formerly known as as Ton!c, Dutch-influenced DJ/producer (and father of two) Deorro has built an impressive résumé (featuring buzz-worthy collaborations with Steve Aoki, Laidback Luke and Diplo) for a relatively new presence on the EDM scene. In a review of his tempo-spanning Dim Mak Records EP Elevation, Magnetic Magazine likened the 22-year-old Los Angeles native's use of “growls and gritty wobbles” to tracks by Skrillex and James Egbert while noting the “interesting Hispanic influence” on “Cayendo,” which is sung entirely in Spanish by vocalist Tess Marie. Keeping the rave energy pulsing after a wild outing with dynamic Canadian duo Adventure Club, Disco Donnie brings Deorro to Club Rio for an unpredictable night of modern party music. $20-$30, 9pm-2am Fri, Club Rio, 13307-A San Pedro, (210) 403-2582, eventbrite.com. —BR
Fri 1/24-Sun 1/26
Venus in Fur
Penned by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (for whom masochism is named), Venus in Furs is a semi-autobiographical account of the Austrian author’s escapades as the willing slave of Baroness Fanny Pistor. Since its publication in 1870, the novella has inspired pop songs, bizarre films and David Ives’ suspenseful Tony-nominee Venus in Fur. Billed as a “sexy comic romp,” the play takes shape after a struggling actress arrives late (but extremely prepared) for an audition with a writer-director adapting von Sacher-Masoch’s furry tale of dominance and submission. John O’Neil directs Kacey Griffin and Michael Holley in the local debut of what critic Charles Isherwood summed up as “a seriously smart and very funny stage seminar on the destabilizing nature of sexual desire: vanilla-flavored, kink-festooned or anything in between.” $10-$25, 8pm Fri-Sat, 3pm Sun, San Pedro Playhouse, 800 W Ashby, (210) 733-7258, theplayhousesa.org. —BR
Initially formed in 2005, the local alt-rock outfit Hydra Melody has three EPs, two nationwide contests (finalists in one, $20,000 winners in the other) and a monumental tour behind them. Perhaps the biggest break for the band (Jason Harari, Jordan Berlanga, Manny Prince, Taylor Ferguson and Matt Gomez) in 2013 was an invitation to join ’90s alternative rock icons Third Eye Blind for a 20th anniversary tour sponsored by House of Blues. The headliners chose a different band to open on each leg of the tour, and Hydra Melody joined the likes of Gentlemen Hall and Team (the latter is ex-Boys Like Girls bass player Bryan Donahue’s new project). Attendees at the quintet's show this Friday at Jack's (featuring support from Sound of Curves and Broken Buffalo) will likely hear a sample of songs from an upcoming EP set for release sometime before SXSW (March 11-16). $12, doors at 8pm Fri, Jack's Bar, 3030 Thousand Oaks, (210) 494-2309, jacksbarsa.com.
Click here to read Thea Setterbo's full story “SA’s Hydra Melody on Third Eye Blind, Austin's Downside and Making Smarter Music.”
“The largest live art event in Texas” celebrates its eighth anniversary with guest artists Skinner, Aaron “Woes” Martin, Ernest Doty, Ekundayo and Tall Boy painting the White Rabbit’s walls to live music by Aggravator, No Gods and Perish the Land. Influenced by ’80s pop culture, Oakland-based Skinner balances commercial projects with “bizarre and antagonistic installations.” Known for paintings of stressed-out pandas, Woes has worked with both Disney and Kidrobot. Beasts with extra sets of eyes are trademarks for Doty, who’s “at once a mystic and a social activist.” The subversive works of Honolulu-born Ekundayo have appeared on promos for the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Linkin Park. As for California native Tall Boy, his cartoonish creatures (including Sexquatch and Barfield the cat) are simultaneously humorous and grotesque. $10, 9pm Sat, the White Rabbit, 2410 N St. Mary’s, (210) 737-2221, artslamsa.com. —BR
Hey, Demi Lovato, I agree with you: SA’s Jessica Espinoza blew The X Factor judges away during her audition, but during Round 1 of Boot Camp she just blew it. As Perez Hilton wrote, it “wasn’t horrible,” but it wasn’t one of Espinoza’s best moments either (besides, Demi, I saw you at the People en Español concert in SA and you sucked for the first five minutes; anyone can have a less-than-perfect night). The important thing is that Espinoza is back in town fronting her own band Jessikill, a heavy metal machine that plays hard (and well), but could be confused with a thousand other similar outfits. That is, those that don’t have Espinoza as a singer. In November, the band released the single “Just One Try” (available on iTunes) and they plan to release a full-length this year. Espinoza is in top vocal form and, if you haven’t heard her already, prepare to be killed. Free, 10pm Sat, Retox Bar, 1031 Patricia, (210) 775-2886, retoxbar.net. —EL