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Fall Arts Preview 2015: Readings/Concerts

The piano man, the Barefoot Contessa and the musings of a Texas memoirist

By Nick Esquer September 1, 2015 Published in the September 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Mary Karr

Mary Karr

This may be the golden age of the comedian-penned memoir, with standouts like Tina Fey, Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham all having written bestsellers filled with self-effacing stories set in the world of stand-up or sketch comedy. But there are other golden memoirs out there, some dealing with harsh realities, devastating losses, and themes of abuse, addiction and broken hearts. Mary Karr, for instance, who rose to literary fame with her 1995 memoir The Liars’ Club. In conjunction with the release of her fourth nonfiction book, The Art of Memoir, the writer will return to her southeast Texas roots for a special reading of pieces from her new book, an ode to the genre. “We’re in for a treat,” says Rich Levy, executive director of Inprint, which is holding the event at Christ Church Cathedral. “Reading memoirs gave Karr the voice of an author speaking directly to her and guiding her through his or her own survival.” Attendees can expect to hear the author’s universal takes on addiction, love, love-loss, self-discovery and redemption, as well as the nature of memoir and what it’s like to grow up in a small Texas town.

Sep. 17. inprinthouston.org 

Ina Garten

The Barefoot Contessa will cook up a tasty (yes, we love food puns) and interactive talk even as she promotes her latest book, Make It Ahead, a collection of recipes prepared with little time to spare. The TV chef and Food Network staple will also hold food court with a special Q+A, so come prepared.  

Nov. 4. spahouston.org 

David Sedaris

The only thing more gut-busting and tragically hilarious than reading David Sedaris’s self-deprecating and sometimes haunting memoirs is hearing him narrate them himself. The sharp-witted humorist, who takes the stage at Jones Hall, has garnered a massive cult following with his speaking engagements in which he spins tales of his North Carolina upbringing and his Kerouacian shambles as a youth. 

Nov. 7. spahouston.org

Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift

The Houston Astros’ strong season surprised both fans of baseball and the quasi-country singer-turned-pop superstar. Swift originally set her Minute Maid Park performance for Oct. 13, but the team’s chance at making the playoffs caused her to move her 1989 Tour up a month. Let’s hope there’s no bad blood…

Sep. 9. taylorswift.com/events 

Ariana Grande

The controversies have been many—anti-American remarks, fat shaming, making out with one of her dancers at a donut shop (because America and why not)—but no one disputes the powerful pipes of this pint-sized powerhouse. 

Sep. 18. houstontoyotacenter.com

Nick Jonas

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Nick Jonas

Sans brothers, the youngest Jonas will head to the House of Blues, even as he’s created quite a stir outside the recording studio of late, modeling with his shirt off a la Marky Mark in Calvin Klein underwear, and starring in DirecTV’s martial arts drama Kingdom. (Oh, and if you’re dying to see more of Jonas on the small screen, die-hard fans can also catch him on the Fox murder-mystery anthology, Scream Queens, alongside Ms. Grande—see above).

Sep. 22. houseofblues.com 

The Spirit of India

The Bollywood Masala Orchestra’s musical and visual feast of Indian sounds and folklore, The Spirit of India, promises to be a delight. Highlighting a mix of Indian and Western instruments like the tabla and dholak, the show, held at the Wortham Center, will feature a kaleidoscopic whirl of traditional Indian folk music, dance and costumes. 

Oct. 22. spahouston.org

Billy Joel

Proving he still has a lot of fire left to start, piano man Billy Joel just finished a hell of a summer. He’ll make a stop here after headlining the Bonnaroo Music Festival alongside such youngsters as Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino. Plus, Joel married his fourth wife, uptown girl, equestrian and former Morgan Stanley exec Alexis Roderick, on Independence Day. And now we’ll stop with the Billy Joel puns.

Nov. 6. houstontoyotacenter.com 

Zac Brown Band

The scrappy Georgia band, led by its bearded namesake singer, played in front of 72,602 fans at RodeoHouston this past March. Didn’t get in? Here’s another chance to catch the group’s traditional country sound in hits like “Colder Weather” and “Keep Me In Mind,” as well as alt-country ballads like the ’90s grunge-tinged “Heavy is the Head.”

Nov. 7. woodlandscenter.org

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