In much the same way Howard Dean was swept up on a tide of true-believing Netizens, guitarist Fred Eaglesmith has been continually championed by a grassroots organization of hard-core bluegrass fans. A couple of die-hard Fredheads have gone so far as to organize the Fred Eaglesmith Texas Weekend, affectionately known as Fredfest, kicking off today along the Guadalupe River. Featuring river rafting, barbecue and fellow travelers Hayes Carll, the Laws, the Greencards, the Waybacks, Billy Joe Shaver and many more, the weekend promises to provide a kicked-back atmosphere where backwoods music fans can keep it real together. Today through Sunday, March 14. New Braunfels. For information about the weekend and a schedule, call 512-392-1693 or visit www.fredeaglesmithtexasweekend.com. $69 buys you the whole enchilada.
Friday, March 12
In a nod to the hazy, crazy, cinema-happy '70s, when movie audiences were practically required to turn up at showtime baked to a golden finish, the River Oaks Theatre will be screening Cheech and Chong's 1978 comedy Up In Smoke as its midnight movie this weekend. Not that we're condoning -- or, God forbid, suggesting -- anything, but we feel pretty certain the management won't exactly be trolling the parking lot for cars with heavily fogged interiors. They'll be too busy popping extra popcorn. In addition to the dynamic duo, the movie features a star turn by former cokehead Stacy Keach as the agita-prone Sergeant Stedenko. Should you need anything further to recommend it, heed the words of B-movie booster Joe Bob Briggs, who has said that Smoke is the "best Cheech and Chong, who are their own genre." Midnight today and Saturday, March 13. 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2175 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $8.
Saturday, March 13
When three contemporary Chicanas hit the kitchen to revive the forgotten art of preparing tamales for the holidays, you can be sure sassy banter and overwrought emotions won't lag far behind. In San Antonio playwright Alicia Mena's bilingual one-act play Las Nuevas Tamaleras, opening today at Lambert Hall, it seems at first that the modern ladies may not be up to the tamale-making challenge. But just as the corn husks begin to fly, the ghosts of Doña Mercedes and Doña Juanita, two seasoned tamaleras, materialize to save the day. But the spirits disagree on proper tamale-making technique. Will dinner ever be served? 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. today; 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 14. 1703 Heights Boulevard. For information, call 713-868-7596 or visit www.burrasfinas.com. $18 to $20.
Sunday, March 14
Plenty of American cities boast an international airport without approaching Houston's level of international culture (Atlanta, we're looking at you). Today you can embark upon a kind of round the world cruise on the Eyeopener Tour: Places of Worship. From your seat on a luxurious, climate-controlled coach, you'll see Hakeem Olajuwon's Islamic Da'wah Center, the grotto at Vietnamese Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Debre Selam Medahnealem ("The Sanctuary of Peace and the Savior") Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, United Orthodox Synagogues, Trinity Episcopal Church and, last but not least, the specially painted Russian icon at the Saint Arnold's Brewing Company. You can finish up your day of rest with some sips of the saint's sacred nectar -- all included. Noon to 6 p.m. Tour departs from the Orange Show, 2401 Munger. For information and reservations, call 713-926-6368 or visit www.orangeshow.org. $50; $35 for members.
Monday, March 14
If you're the type of person who can call up the scent of funnel cake with no outside stimulation (mmm, fried dough), then we probably don't need to talk you into hightailing it to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo carnival today. But in case you require a push carnival-ward, need we really say more than "daily pig races"? Throw in the world's largest transportable Ferris wheel and the chance to get hustled out of your hard-earned cash at the midway games, and you've got all the ingredients for the finest day you'll ever spend in a parking lot. 2 p.m. to midnight today through Thursday, March 18; 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, March 19; 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, March 20; 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday, March 21. One Reliant Park. For information, call 832-667-1400 or visit www.rodeohouston.com. $6; $3 for kids six to 12; ride tickets extra.
Tuesday, March 15
Has your significant other spent the last six months plucking out the same damned tune on his Gibson Advanced Jumbo? Well, don't garrote him with an E string -- haul him over to the stage at Cosmos Cafe for acoustic open mike night and let the crowd be the judge of his talent. The night is hosted by local unplugged professional Mark Zeus, who'll also be playing a set with his band, the Bayou City Music Review. The food's good, and the bar's fully stocked -- so you'll be covered if, after the pro show, you need a little help getting through the strumming of folks who play for no pay. Sign-up 7 p.m.; show 8:15 p.m. 69 Heights Boulevard. For information, call 713-802-2144 or visit www.cosmoshouston.com. Free.
Wednesday, March 16
John Patrick Shanley's Dirty Story seeks to offend all comers through its mix of savage comedy and psychodrama. The play presents a mentor-mentee (or is it sadist-masochist?) relationship between two writers as an allegory for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two get in a lovers' quarrel and end up in a war over their Manhattan loft. But then American foreign policy rides in -- embodied by an aw-shucks cowboy and his "kiss-ass" English sidekick -- to try to settle the score. The Yank and the Limey remind us of someone and his lapdog, but never mind... Typical of the larger struggle the characters are playing out, a no-win situation results, and the audience is invited back the next night, when it's just possible that a solution will be found. Keep hope alive. 8 p.m. today. Through April 11. Stages Yeager Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For information and a complete schedule, call 713-527-0123 or visit www.stagestheatre.com. $20 to $25 previews, today and Thursday, March 18; $25 to $35 after.