ACL Fest 2016: Austin, we have our first fest celeb sighting

It’s less than five hours into this year’s Austin City Limits Festival, but we’ve already spotted our first international celebrity (besides the musicians themselves, of course).

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A steady stream of attendees arrive at the Barton Springs entrance of the ACL Music Festival entrance as festgoers arrive on Friday, August 30, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

 

Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan made a stop at the Samsung Stage to catch Eliot Sumner’s show Friday afternoon.

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The actor Pierce Brosnan watches Eliot Sumner perform at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park Friday September 30, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

This isn’t the first time the former 007 agent has been spotted in Austin. As he takes breaks from filming his new show for AMC, he’ll periodically pop up at Guero’s or the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Brosnan has been filming a series for AMC in Central Texas this month. “The Son” is a “multi-generational epic tale of the story of America’s birth as a superpower through the bloody rise and fall of one Texas family,” according to Deadline. The series is based on local author Philipp Meyer’s 2013 novel of the same name and will air in 2017.

The day is young…maybe we’ll spot some more famous folks as the weekend goes on.

181 years ago: A small cannon fires a big shot in Gonzales

This cannon at the Gonzales Memorial Museum is said to be the one sparked the Battle of Gonzales in 1835. Photo from the Library of Congress.
This cannon at the Gonzales Memorial Museum is said to be the one sparked the Battle of Gonzales in 1835. Photo from the Library of Congress.

This weekend will mark 181 years since a small cannon in Gonzales fired the shot that is said to have sparked the Texas Revolution. You remember it, right?

No, a couple hundred valiant Texians weren’t surrounded by Santa Anna’s massive army. They didn’t die gallantly. There was no folk-hero frontiersman there. All that is why you remember the Alamo.

The Battle of Gonzales was much smaller in scale. A playground shoving match compared to the Alamo’s fight to the death. Going through the facts for the first time in years, I’m struck by why the battle (and its now-ubiquitous flag) is such a touchstone for gun-rights supporters. Let’s recap quickly:

  1. In 1831, the Mexican government gave its citizens in the DeWitt Colony a small cannon so they could defend themselves against Indian attacks. (The cannon was said to have been ‘spiked’ — a barbed spike hammered into the touch-hole — making it more of a noisemaker than a death-dealer.)
  1. In 1835, the Mexican government, facing the looming threat of revolution in Texas, demanded the colonists give the cannon back. But though the citizens around Gonzales had been loyal to the government, relations went downhill, particularly after a Mexican soldier clubbed a Gonzales man with his rifle. The Gonzales residents refused to give the cannon back.
  1. Santa Anna sent a military force of 100 soldiers to retrieve the cannon. The Guadalupe River was up after heavy rains when they arrived and the Mexican force could not cross to reach Gonzales. If they had, the Texians’ 18-man force would have likely presented little trouble.
  1. Over the next few days, the river stayed up, the Mexicans stayed put and the Gonzales militia attracted reinforcements from nearby communities. They made their wee cannon as functional as possible, put it on wheels and voted to attack.
  1. Emboldened by their new might, the Texians crossed the river late on Oct. 1 and crept up on the Mexican force in the early hours of Oct. 2. Hidden by a heavy fog, the Texians attacked at dawn and … drew back. Both sides fired at each other to little effect.
  1. The commanders of each side met and the Texians explained that Santa Anna wasn’t giving them orders anymore. Then the Texians hoisted a home-made (some say from a wedding dress) flag over their cannon that said “Come and Take It” and … this is the big moment … fired the cannon.
  1. The cannon didn’t hurt anyone, but now outnumbered and knowing the Texians were serious about fighting, the Mexican force retreated back to San Antonio.

And that’s it. If you take it out of the context of the Texas revolution, it’s a fantasy for the let’s-play-militia crowd: Evil government tries to seize guns but when the people band together and shoot first, the evil government runs away. (Though it’s important to know that that Mexican commander had been ordered to not fight the Texians, but just to try to retrieve the gun through negotiation or threat.)

Ryan Laughland, of Austin, waves a Texas Come and Take It flag outside Red's Indoor Range in support of open carry legislation on June 13, 2015. Photo by Ralph Barrera. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Ryan Laughland, of Austin, waves a Texas Come and Take It flag outside Red’s Indoor Range in support of open carry legislation on June 13, 2015. Photo by Ralph Barrera.

The “Come and Take It” flag should be shared as an awesome moment for all Texans (and it has inspired many imitators), but it has mostly been co-opted by the gun-rights crowd. Today the flag is often emblazoned with an AR-15 or similar weapon instead of a cannon and marketed every imaginable way. (You can buy a “Come and Take It” flask on eBay right now. I’m thinking about getting one.)

All this raises one more key question: What happened to the original Gonzales cannon? Well the Gonzales Memorial Museum will tell you that they have it.

According to one report, 10 days after the battle of Oct. 2, the men of Gonzales headed for San Antonio, bringing their now-famous cannon with them. But when the cannon’s axles began to smoke, they buried it outside Gonzales and hurried on to meet their fate.

In 1936 (conveniently, the Texas centennial), massive flooding uncovered a small iron cannon near Gonzales. After being traded around for years, Dr. Patrick Wagner acquired the cannon and after two years of research, determined it was the historic cannon of 1835.

Other historians disagree, saying that the Gonzales cannon was bronze and it likely did end up at the Alamo (where Santa Anna did, uh, come and take it). If it was there, it was likely among those melted down after the battle.

Either way, Oct. 2 is a pivotal date in Texas history and should be remembered along with March 6 and April 21. 

Texas woman sings Selena’s ‘Como La Flor’ on ‘The Voice,’ wins spot

For the first time in “The Voice” history, someone finally sang the work of our “Queen of Tejano” Selena Quintanilla — and she happens to be from Texas too.

Selena Quintanilla Perez will be inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame this fall. **FILE**Selena Quintanilla Perez will be honored with Madame Tussauds wax figure this summer. In this 1994 photo, Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio. **FILE**Selena fans commemorated the 20th anniversary of her death this year. ** FILE ** Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman. ORG XMIT:
Selena Quintanilla performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman.

Read: Remembering Selena: Tejano music star’s legacy lives on 20 years after her death

On this week’s episode of the singing competition,  Elia Esparza from El Paso stood on the nationally-watched stage and belted out Selena’s “Como La Flor” for judges Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus and Adam Levine.

The judges’ curiosities peaked the moment those opening notes that are all too familiar to those of us from Texas began. She gave an impressive performance that would probably would have made Selena proud and by the end, Esparza had convinced Levine, Cyrus and Shelton to turn their chairs.

Related: Selena influenced style, beauty

Whose team did she pick? Watch the video to find out.

 

Beyoncé launches new Fall/Winter line for Ivy Park

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 file photo, Beyonce Knowles arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden, in New York. Even Beyonce needs to slow down every once in a while. Under doctor's orders for vocal rest, the superstar singer has postponed the Sept. 7, 2016, MetLife Stadium stop of her Formation World Tour until October 7, according to a statement Monday. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
FILE – In this Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016 file photo, Beyonce Knowles arrives at the MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden, in New York. Even Beyonce needs to slow down every once in a while. Under doctor’s orders for vocal rest, the superstar singer has postponed the Sept. 7, 2016, MetLife Stadium stop of her Formation World Tour until October 7, according to a statement Monday. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

You may not have met Beyoncé at a Houston beauty shop, but you can still get her style: the singer dropped the Fall/Winter 2016 collection for Ivy Park, the athleisure line she co-founded, Thursday morning.

Beyoncé (and Ivy Park) posted a picture on Instagram of the singer in a bodysuit and camo-print parka from the new collection as a first look. At Topshop, the jacket is $165 and the body suit $65.

Then came the collection’s video:

The best video drop since “Hold Up,” the Ivy Park ad feels very much like “Lemonade;” Beyoncé speaks over fast-changing images and clips of videos. “I stretch my body out like the horizon,” she says over visuals of her posing in Ivy Park clothing. In the one minute video, there’s only two seconds that show Beyoncé exercising. Instead, the video focuses on her sold-out performances, her family and bits of her life, mostly while wearing the large letters that spell out “IVY PARK.”

The brand’s Instagram teased the release, posting a countdown a few days before. (Note: the videos contain flashing images.)

 

Rocking Beyoncé workout clothes might hurt your wallet a bit, but the fall/winter collection’s dark colors and simplicity make each piece a classic for your fall wardrobe. You can find Ivy Park at Topshop, Nordstrom, Six:02 and Hudson Bay in the United States.

Burning Big Tex lives on in Texans’ hearts, memories

Big Tex returned to the State Fair of Texas on Sept. 23, but his 2012 demise stays fresh in Texans’ minds.

OCTOBER 10, 2015 - Texas fans, Mark Jacobs, Jennifer Bowland, Billy Jacobs, behind, and Ryan Jacobs, left to right, enjoy a famous Fletcher's corndog in front "Big Texas" at the State Fair of Texas before the start of the Big 12 conference game between Texas and Oklahoma held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tx., on Saturday, October 10, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
OCTOBER 10, 2015 – Texas fans, Mark Jacobs, Jennifer Bowland, Billy Jacobs, behind, and Ryan Jacobs, left to right, enjoy a famous Fletcher’s corndog in front “Big Texas” at the State Fair of Texas before the start of the Big 12 conference game between Texas and Oklahoma held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Tx., on Saturday, October 10, 2015. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday commemorated the fiery destruction of Big Tex with short profiles of people who memorialized the event in prints, in photographs and tattoos.

When Dallas artist Clay Stinnett added flames to his canvases of the genial, slightly creepy looking State Fair icon, he took Big Tex’s persona and made it grittier – into a “red hot punk icon,” the Dallas Morning News said. The fact that the Dallas Morning News profiled a man who tattooed a detailed burning Big Tex on his left leg only reinforced the idea of “punk icon.” Another North Texas artist created linoleum prints and a candle depicting Big Tex’s burning visage.

When Big Tex burned in 2013, State Fair officials said they received $95,000 in donations to rebuild the iconic statue. The statue cost an estimated $500,000 to build.

h/t Dallas Morning News

‘Modern Family’ adds first openly transgender child actor on TV to episode

Photo via Ryan Case/Instagram
Photo via Ryan Case/Instagram

Eight-year-old Jackson Millarker will play Lily’s friend Tom in an episode of “Modern Family.” While guest characters are a regular occurrence, Millarker is the first openly transgender child to be on television, People Magazine reported.

The episode Millarker appears on is directed by Ryan Case, who shared a photo of herself and the young actor on Instagram.

“One of the many reasons I love being part of this show,” Case wrote in her caption.

According to NewNowNext, Millarker’s character and Lily will have a playdate, where misunderstandings ensue.

h/t People Magazine

Rob Kardashian tries to stir up drama on Twitter while presidential debate happened

Photo via Rob Kardashian/Instagram
Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna recently premiered their reality show on E! Photo via Rob Kardashian/Instagram

Rob Kardashian tweeted Kylie Jenner’s phone number last night:

https://twitter.com/robkardashian/status/780589070556631040

Or so he claimed. The number has been disconnected, and there’s no evidence if it was Kylie’s number or an unlucky stranger who had to field thousands of callers looking for the youngest Jenner.

Rob went on to tweet about Blac Chyna (who used to date Kylie’s current boyfriend Tyga and has a child with him) not being invited to her own baby shower.

https://twitter.com/robkardashian/status/780590678099189763

One person tried to point Rob toward current events (and missed out on using the debate hashtag):

No word from either presidential candidate about the latest news from the Kardashian clan, or if this will be on “Rob and Chyna,” the couple’s new E! show.

Beyoncé posed with fans at a beauty supply store in Texas

A few Beyoncé fans totally lucked out this weekend when Queen B strolled into a Houston beauty supply store and took a photo with them.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT - Beyonce performs during the Formation World Tour at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, September 17, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Daniela Vesco/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)
 Beyonce performs during the Formation World Tour at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday, September 17, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Daniela Vesco/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

Read: Beyoncé gave us all a birthday present with ‘Hold Up’ music video

The singer was in her hometown to perform for her Formation tour on Thursday when she and her mother, Tina Knowles, decided to go to their old favorite shop Solid Gold Beauty Supply. Apparently, Tina needed some satin bonnets.

Related: Jay Z doesn’t believe Texas has pizza

While they were there, Beyoncé posed for a photo with a couple of fans who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

https://twitter.com/taayanthony/status/779427801090908160

Here’s Tina talking about those bonnets.

And here’s Beyoncé posing in front of wall that she somehow makes look really cool.

Drink up: Texan invents device to ward off wine hangovers

One Texan has answered the prayers of wine lovers everywhere: A solution to the particular horribleness of wine hangovers. It’s a little different from your solution, because it doesn’t involve staying in bed for a day with stained lips.

Sulfites often get the blame for red wine headaches, but experts say tyramine and tannins are probably at fault. (Photo courtesy Fotolia/TNS)
Sulfites often get the blame for red wine headaches, but experts say tyramine and tannins are probably at fault. (Photo courtesy Fotolia/TNS)

“The Wand” claims to improve the entire wine-drinking experience, but especially in so that it prevents the “flushing, nasal congestion, headaches, and hangovers that 75 percent of drinkers experience,” Culture Map reports. The Wand is made up of a short silver stick with a small sack of beads at the end that works by filtering out the sulfites and histamines responsible for wine-drinkers’ uncomfortable side effects.

READ: Wineries in the Texas Hill Country only getting better with age

Because the Wand preserves the tannins present in wine, the taste is reportedly unaltered. That’s some wine science. The device claims to work well in white, red and sparkling wine, although in the case of the latter it also unfortunately filters out all the fun bubbles.

If it’s all it claims to be the Wand could make for the perfect partner on a Hill Country winery tour. Pour yourself a glass and check out the Wand’s website here.

READ: Planned Taco Bell in Austin will serve beer, wine, liquor

Nine totally Texas products that are not Blue Bell

There’s a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream in my freezer that might be the last that I buy. Best I can tell, kids and listeria isn’t a combination I’d want to experience. Do I dare give Blue Bell a third strike, or call it at two?

Either way, when you’re as Texan as a hat full of horny toads, it’s sad to give up on a Lone Star icon. That’s why I went through H-E-B recently, looking for other products that are all Texan and no toxin (hopefully). Here’s what I found …

H-E-B's borracho beans, made with Shiner beer. Photo by Dave Thomas
H-E-B’s borracho beans, made with Shiner beer. Photo by Dave Thomas

To be honest, I haven’t tried these yet. But the combination of Tex-Mex food and German-Czech beer couldn’t be more Texan.

Whataburger's Honey Mustard sauce. Photo by Dave Thomas
Whataburger’s Honey Mustard sauce. Photo by Dave Thomas

You might think I’d have gone with the beloved Whataburger ketchup, but (don’t tell anyone) I’ve been a Heinz fan since the days of the Armadillo World Headquarters.

Julio's chips. Photo by Dave Thomas
Julio’s chips. Photo by Dave Thomas

I always thought Julio’s tortilla chips were from San Angelo, but that was their second location. The addictively spicy chips were born in Del Rio.

Pearl beer is Texas' oldest beer. Photo by Dave Thomas
Pictured: Pearl Light — because H-E-B was improbably sold out of regular Pearl. Photo by Dave Thomas

Sure, they’re owned by a California corporation. And the old San Antonio brewery is now a collection of uppity restaurants and shops. But Pearl (barely still available in 12-packs of cans only) is still the oldest Texas beer, beating out Shiner by 13 years.

The original-style Salt Lick barbecue sauce. Photo by Dave Thomas
The original-style Salt Lick barbecue sauce. Photo by Dave Thomas

At one point, in Victoria, I lived off my own cooking — which meant that I lived off Stubb’s barbecue sauce and whatever it could cover up. But Stubb’s has gone national, and I’ve moved on to The Salt Lick’s Original sauce.

Eckermann's dry smoked sauage. Photo by Dave Thomas
Eckermann’s dry smoked sausage. Photo by Dave Thomas

To be honest, I don’t know anything about this product. But I wanted some dried sausage. And it was delicious.

Skirt steak from H-E-B. Photo by Dave Thomas
Skirt steak from H-E-B. Photo by Dave Thomas

When you think about Texas, you think about brisket. And you should. But barbecuing brisket (well) is an elite activity. Almost anyone can make pretty good fajitas within a few hours of thinking “hey, you know what would be good?”

Stubb's beef spice rub. Photo by Dave Thomas
Stubb’s beef spice rub. Photo by Dave Thomas

To tell the truth, I was looking for Earl Campbell’s BBQ Rib Rub, which is more Texan than Tom Landry holding an armadillo. But since C.B. Stubblefield is the patron saint of Texas barbecue, it’s only right to honor him.

Alamo-shaped cookie cutter. Photo by Dave Thomas
Alamo-shaped cookie cutter. Photo by Dave Thomas

I wouldn’t turn down a Texas-shaped cookie, no I wouldn’t. But let’s be honest — that’s entry-level stuff. Step up your game to Alamo cookies.