The blues continue to be a part of African-American life in Texas, and is found where dancing, drinking, socializing and being seen are at the center of the action. The blues life, in a sense, is made up of all these pieces - the music and the mood, the place and the people. The three venues documented in this exhibition - the Eastside Lounge and the Longbranch Inn in Austin and C. Davis Bar-B-Q in Houston - have served variously as neighborhood hangouts or favorite jam places for local blues musicians. In their modest and steady way, these venues keep the blues alive by providing a welcoming environment for musicians and for the many people who follow and support them.
Roger Wood and James Fraher spent years traveling the “zydeco corridor”, the musical axis between Houston and Lafayette, Louisiana around which zydeco revolves to this day, interviewing and photographing hundreds of authentic musicians, dancers, club owners, and fans. As their words and images make clear, zydeco, both historically and today, belongs not to a state but to all the people of the upper Gulf Coast. Texas Zydeco describes how many of the most formative players and moments in modern zydeco history developed in Texas, especially Houston.
Texas Folklife’s exhibit Yard Show showcases homes and properties transformed by their owners into uncommon personal displays with photographs by Krista Whitson, Jill Nokes and Chuy Benitez, videos and sculptural elements borrowed from selected yards as well as new installations commissioned for the exhibit. The stories in Yard Show build vivid pictures of home that is more than just real estate and property values, and offers a lens for people to view their own communities, especially those overlooked neighborhoods where forgotten public histories and private memories may contribute to a greater sense of place.
In the clubs, ballrooms, and barbecue joints of neighborhoods such as Third Ward, Frenchtown, Sunnyside, and Double Bayou, Houston’s African American community birthed a vibrant and unique slice of the blues. Houston blues was and is the voice of a working-class community, an ongoing conversation about good times and hard times, smokin’ Saturday nights and Blue Mondays. Showcasing the photographs and stories in the book Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues by Roger Wood and James Fraher, this exhibit presents a detailed portrait of the Houston blues scene, past and present, through interviews and dramatic black-and-white photographs.
In 2012 Texas Folklife and the Brownsville Historical Association (BHA) partnered on “Taquerías of Southmost,” a researc
Tapestry Foundation awards grants in the Austin area to tax exempt organizations that provide SEL-social emotional learning, early childhood education, parenting education, and Adult Emotional Intelligence projects. Since its inception, Tapestry has awarded more than $7 million in grants.