BR5-49: The five guys who comprise the Nashville psychobilly ensemble BR5-49 are just cute and talented enough for the folks in the Nashville mainstream to be extremely suspicious. In a town not known for its ability to separate artistic value from record sales, Don Herron, Chuck Mead, "Smilin'" Jay McDowell, "Hank" Shaw Wilson, and Gary Bennett created quite a stir by reviving the booze-soaked blast of Western swing and honky-tonk for packed clubs of twentysomethings and geezers alike. If Willie Nelson can barely get a Nashville record exec to return his phone calls, what's the ulterior motive of five guys who revive the classic blues and bluegrass-inspired melodies that influenced him? And were they trying to be smartasses by naming their band after the mythical used-car lot owned by Junior Samples in Hee Haw? BR5-49 is the hot number teaching a legendary American music city that roots don't just belong in museums. The guys perform May 30 and May 31 at 8 p.m. at Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm. For ticket information call 747-4422.
Hay Fever: Noel Coward was a guy who appreciated the boundless comic possibilities of the fish out of water. His plays, monologues, songs, and performances are fueled by the tension (and catharsis) of individuals whose class, education, gender, sexuality (the crafty old Noel kept that topic veiled but constant, except when he could be pressed to perform his own "Mad About the Boy" in concert) serve the same function as those gigantic padded bats they hand you in aggression therapy to work out your frustrations. Revived constantly everywhere, it seems, but in Texas, Coward's most famous comedy Hay Fever brought these elements to a boil with a look at one family full of artistic, sensitive members who can't quite stop shocking their stodgy guests. Windmill Productions swoops in to fill the Coward-Lone Star gap with a new production. Performances happen Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. through June 16 at Theatre Too! (below Theatre Three) in the Quadrangle. Tickets are $12 (although Wednesdays are pay-what-you-can). For information call 941-1751.
Project: A-KON 7: A recent Harper's excerpt provided a hilariously overwrought defense by one fanatic of another. The guy writing the piece was a Trekkie who defended the honor of the alternate juror in the Whitewater case who showed up in court wearing a Starship Enterprise uniform. The author of the piece wasn't defending her, he was forging a political manifesto for fandom ("We're Here, We're Fans, Get Used To It") in the face of a cynical world. The three-day Project: A-Kon 7 would be an excellent stage for this guy to drum up the faithful, although the show mostly sidesteps Star Trek in favor of more-exotic anime and its devotees. Guests include Frank Conniff from Mystery Science Theater 3000; Justin Achilli and Joshua Timbrook from White Wolf Games; Trish LeDoux of Animerica Magazine; and numerous animators and production officials from Japanimation companies. Events happen starting May 31 at noon and run through June 2 at 5 p.m. at the Harvey Hotel Addison, 14315 Midway Rd. in Addison. Admission is $10-$35. Call 980-8877.
Sport Truck Magazine Expo: It should surprise no one who's spent more than five minutes on Texas highways that our fair state boasts the largest number of truck owners in the country. While coming in handy for folks who have a lot of friends, they also provide ample body space for the kind of self-expression only a $2,000 paint job can provide. (Dig that woman with large breasts caressing the pinball machine!) Press information for the Sport Truck Magazine Expo, sponsored by an august little literary journal known as Sport Truck Magazine, mentions that "everything from restored classics to late-model beauties, from screaming minitrucks to beefed-up dualies, will be on display." This is the third consecutive banner year for Texans who like their vehicles beefy and screaming. Events happen June 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and June 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the grounds of the State Fair of Texas. Tickets are $3-$8 (kids younger than 6 get in free). For more information call 1-800-858-6381.
Paul Rodriguez: Paul Rodriguez started off telling jokes about inner-city Latino living and wound up as one of 1995's most successful, if rarely mentioned, filmmakers. His touching, underrated comedy A Million To Juan--which he starred in, directed, and produced--was filmed for less than $165,000. The total worldwide gross for Juan on film and video as of this writing is $13 million. Ricocheting between various forms of comic entertainment media may be how Paul Rodriguez distinguished himself as one of the most successful Latino artists in American pop culture today, but it's the yearning quality of his performances that insures that people return to him again and again for a view of the world that manages to be gentle and trenchant. The performance kicks off at 8 p.m. at Casa Manana, 3101 W. Lancaster in Fort Worth. For ticket information call (817) 332-CASA.