Bill’s Best Bets: Honoring Buddy 61 years after ‘the music died,’ two powerful plays, LSO chamber concert

Super Bowl Sunday is just one week before Oscars Sunday in a year with the shortest time in recent memory for Academy Awards marketing – thus straining the voters’ ability to see all nominees.

Even locally, theaters attempting to allow viewers access to nominated live action, animated or documentary shorts will show them through Sunday, Feb. 9, until only hours before the Oscars telecast begins.

For years, Academy Award winners were honored in March and the Motion Picture Academy may revert to that schedule again next year. As it is, no one in Hollywood seems happy about the very limited time to catch up with nominees.

Meanwhile, the Alamo Drafthouse in Lubbock already is having success with its one-time only specialty film bookings this weekend.

While seats remain available to see “2001: A Space Odyssey” Sunday afternoon, Saturday’s matinee of “Gone with the Wind” is all but sold out, with only a handful of singles available.

Friday’s Alamo screenings of both the classic horror film “Ringu” and the new Taylor Swift documentary, “Miss Americana,” showed only front row seats available when I checked.

(Somewhat surprising is the absence of screenings this week of “The Buddy Holly Story” and/or “La Bamba.”)

Local weekend choices also include an anime convention Friday through Sunday at the MCM Elegante Hotel, 801 Avenue Q and Cinemark’s Movies 16’s screening the Metropolitan Opera’s “Porgy and Bess” at 11:55 a.m. Sunday and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets for the opera screening are $24.90 Sunday and $22.73 Wednesday, including tax.

Still, live theater and Buddy Holly remembrances comprise the brunt of our weekend Best Bets … with a warning that nearly twice as many entertainment offerings will share a conflicting arrival next weekend.

Read on for this week’s selections.

Monday: ‘The Day the Music Died’

In better years, one could depend on Lubbock’s bigger tributes for native son Charles Hardin “Buddy” Holley to  be held on the late singer-songwriter’s Sept. 7 birthday.

(When his first recording contract was mailed to him with the letter e deleted from his last name, Buddy decided he could chase fame faster by just signing the contract and keeping Holly as his new name.)

The Buddy Holly Center, 1801 Crickets Ave, will repeat its “Day the Music Died” salute on Feb. 3, the day Buddy lost his life in the crash of a rented plane.

Buddy Holly was born to a musical family in Lubbock, a product of the Great Depression on Sept. 7, 1936. His mother played piano, and two older brothers played guitar.

Holly was only 22 when he died on Feb. 3, 1959 in Iowa.

By that time, he and his band, the Crickets, had created a visual image for rock ’n’ roll bands that would endure – while Holly also had written or co-written and recorded many hit songs.

During which time every fan, from Europe and Australia through all of the United States, knew Buddy Holly was from Lubbock. Buddy announced it at every concert, in every interview.

Holly initially was influenced by country, gospel and R&B but, by the time he was contracted to open for Elvis Presley in Lubbock in 1955, he’d set his goal on rock and rockabilly stardom.

No one could have predicted how quickly Holly would earn international acclaim. It was singer-songwriter Don McLean who, in his 1971 hit “American Pie,” referred to Feb. 3, 1959 and Buddy Holly’s death as “the day the music died.”

Also killed in the same plane crash were fellow entertainers Ritchie Valens, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and young pilot Roger Peterson.

This year marks the 61st anniversary of the tragedy.

On Monday, the Buddy Holly Center has free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The first order of business each Feb. 3 is for the center’s staff to place a spray of yellow roses on Holly’s grave at City of Lubbock Cemetery, 31st Street and Teak Avenue.

Throughout the day, trolley tours will visit Lubbock locations important in Holly’s life. Trolley tickets are $8 and can be reserved in advance by calling 775-3562.

Free guided tours also are given of the childhood home of J.I. Allison, Crickets drummer and Buddy’s best friend. The original home was saved and relocated to an area adjacent to the Buddy Holly Center. It was in J.I.’s small bedroom the two collaborated on writing several songs, perhaps most notably “That’ll Be the Day.”

Inside the center during the “Day the Music Died” celebration, a Holly documentary will be shown on a loop. There will be light refreshments and also children’s activities throughout the day-long salute to Buddy Holly’s legacy.

‘Lubbock Honors Buddy Holly and the Crickets’

Many of Lubbock’s talented entertainers will present a concert, called Lubbock Honors Buddy Holly and the Crickets, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cactus Theater, 1812 Buddy Holly Ave.

The show is co-produced by Cactus management and Don Caldwell Entertainment.

Reserved seats on the floor and standard balcony seating are $20. Limited seating in the balcony box are $40; those box seats also include free concessions provided the patron presents his ticket before ordering.

Take note: Listed Cactus ticket prices are “base prices;” varied fees and tax always will be added to base prices at time of purchase. Tickets also can be purchased in advance by using a link at

All sales are final. The Cactus Theater does not permit exchanges, refunds or credit for future shows in exchange for unused tickets. The theater’s box office is staffed at 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, unless Monday is a major holiday.

Call the Cactus at 762-3233, or visit online site  for more information.

“It is an honor to everyone involved to be able to present Buddy’s music for his fans. No one does Buddy better than Lubbock,” said Don Caldwell,

Kurt Kiser will emcee.

Special guests are guitarist Eddy Weir and singer Sherry Holley, Buddy’s nephew and niece. (Eddy is the son of Buddy’s late sister, Pat. Sherry is the daughter of Buddy’s older brother, Larry.

The long list of vocalists scheduled to be backed by the band Caldwell Collective includes Blackwater Draw, Brenn Edwards, Sheena Fadeyi,  Jason Fellers, Dustin Garrett, Avery Guyear, Johnny Hughes, Bethany Longoria, Miz Ayn, Mike Pritchard, Lesley Sawyer, Haley Simpson, John Sprott and Heath Stewart. More performers likely have been added since these names were first announced.


Outland Repertory Theater, Lubbock’s sole professional theater troupe, will stage the one-woman play “Grounded” at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Firehouse Theatre at LHUCA, 511 Ave. K.

These are the final performances.

Reserved seats (including service charges) are $27.24 for the general public, $16.74 for seniors age 65 and older and those with military IDs, and $6.24 for students.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance online at

The powerful adult drama from playwright George Brant stars Outpost Rep company member Rachel Hirshorn and is helmed by guest director Patrick Pearson.

Credits also include Annie Jenkins, stage manager; Jared A. Roberts, set designer; Mallory Prucha, costume designer; April Langehennig, lighting designer, and Matthew Mosher, sound designer.

The play is recommended for mature audiences, as it includes adult language and situations.

Hirshorn portrays a fighter pilot who is at the top of her game, flying for the U.S. Air Force.

When the unexpected happens, this tough, funny and charismatic warrior is reassigned to remotely pilot fighter drones used to bomb tactical targets in the Middle East.

But as she perfects her skill at this new job, the play asks whether the spotlighted character can come to terms with the increasingly dehumanized and impersonal costs of modern warfare.


Renegade Productions and Poetic Thespian Productions will stage Duncan Macmillan’s 2011 drama “Lungs” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Legacy Event Center’s Ballroom, 1500 14th St.

Tickets (including service charge) are $21.99.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance at

This production is co-produced by Alec Lee Williams and Charles Jackson Jr.

Dallas native Sarah Lehmann Jackson makes her Lubbock directorial debut. She presently is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in performance and pedagogy at the Texas Tech School of Theatre and Dance.

“Lungs” costars Jake Medina and Miera Garcia, cast as “M” and “W,” respectively.

As the play opens, the world keeps getting hotter and there is unrest overseas. In this environment, two people, M and W, consider having a child of their own.

“Lungs” follows this couple through the surprising life cycle of their relationship, as they grapple with questions of family and change, hope, betrayal, happenstance and a terrible pain that can only be caused by someone you love.

“Lungs” debuted in 2011 at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. Theater critic Lyn Gardner wrote in The Guardian, “Duncan Macmillan’s distinctive, off-kilter love story is brutally honest, funny, edgy and current. It gives voice to a generation for whom uncertainty is a way of life through two flawed, but deeply human people who you don’t always like but start to feel you may love. It is bravely written and startlingly structured.”

The play’s British adaptation would find it named the Best New Play of 2013 at the Off West End Awards.

Lubbock Symphony Orchestra Chamber Concert

The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra’s Winter “Sound!” chamber concert will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the LHUCA Christine DeVitt Icehouse, 511 Ave. J.

This program will combine fascinating, unconventional music with vibrant lighting, exciting colors and intriguing visual elements.

“Music lovers of West Texas have taken a great liking to our new ‘Sound!’ chamber series. All who attend are certainly in for a treat. We are so excited to present this innovative and modern concert to the Lubbock community,” said David Cho, LSO music director and conductor,

General admission tickets (including service charges) are $31 for the general public and $11 for students.. For further ticket details, call 762-1688 or visit online.

The concert features contemporary and innovative music by David Little and Conlon Nancarrow, and works composed by Texas Tech School of Music faculty members D.J. Sparr and Jennifer Jolley. Traditional works by Scott Joplin also will be showcased.

Nancarrow is best remembered for his 49 Studies written for player piano, three of which are included in this concert. Counterbalancing such modern pieces are works by esteemed American composer Scott Joplin, best known for pioneering the “ragtime” musical idiom.

The program includes:

  • “Maple Leaf Rag,” by Joplin.
  • Study 3A, by Nancarrow.
  • Study 12, by Nancarrow.
  • Vibraphone Concerto, by Sparr.
  • Shine a Light on Our Rights, by Jolley.
  • Solace, by Joplin.
  • Easy Winners, by Joplin.
  • Excerpts from “JFK: Opera and Oratorio,” by Little.
  • Study 21, by Nancarrow.
  • Birichino, by Christopher Theofanidis.

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