8.15
8.15

Texas outlaw country crooner Blaze Foley, who penned classic and frequently covered outlaw staples like “If I Could Only Fly,” was a musician’s musician. Although the unsung songwriting legend, who counted folky gents like Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard as his contemporaries, wasn’t very well known in his time, it’s been said that if you watched one of his Honky Tonk performances in the years before his untimely and tragic death in the late ’80s, you would have found yourself elbow-to-elbow with Texas musicians.


The oft-forgotten music outlier is finally getting the respect he deserves through Blaze, a new biopic about his life co-written and directed by four-time Oscar nominee, Texas native and outlaw music fan Ethan Hawke. The film, which stars Hawke’s longtime musician friend Ben Dickey in the title role, opens in Houston on Aug. 24, two weeks before it’s released in New York and Los Angeles.

Hawke decided to do a Texas rollout of the film before a wider release because of Foley’s importance to the Texas music community. Blaze stops in several Texas cities over the next few weeks, with screenings at small theaters, intimate invite-only fireside chats, and performances featuring Hawke, Dickey and musician Jack Ingram.

“A lot of movies find friends over a decade. But to find your friends when it first comes out, you have to talk to like-minded people,” Hawke tells Houston CityBook, explaining why he decided to take such a nontraditional approach with the release. “And so the idea of coming down South and doing it the old-fashioned way felt right.”

The film, which Hawke describes as a “country music opera,” has already garnered rave reviews and earned acting newcomer Dickey the Special Jury Award for Achievement in Acting at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Based on Foley’s longtime lover Sybil Rosen’s memoir, Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley, the biopic features Dickey alongside an all-star roster of actors that includes the likes of Alia Shawkat, Charlie Sexton, Richard Linklater and Sam Rockwell.

“As one gets interested in the finer points of the fabric of country songwriting you stumble onto Blaze,” says Hawke, noting that he first got interested in the singer-songwriter after falling in love with a cover of Foley’s “Clay Pigeons” by John Prine. “I think for a certain kind of person he symbolizes nonconformity. He had a certain kind of authenticity to himself. He’s just an original.”

Art+Culture

AN INTERVIEW WITH Mimi Sperber, Founding Partner of Off the Wall Gallery

What were your biggest challenges of 2020? Navigating the pandemic while running a business was the challenge of a lifetime. Having to temporarily close doors for several weeks due to Houston's lockdown brought financial uncertainty and difficult decisions. Staffing and budgets were drastically cut, and it was personally hard and emotional at times. While our Main Gallery had to remain closed and unable to generate cash-flow from walk-ins, we built a brand new L'Atelier Gallery inside Galleria One by Prada, replacing our smaller Art Boutique by Neiman Marcus and Chanel. The planning had been in the works for over a year, permits issued, and construction started right when the city closed. The timing was disadvantageous, but we stayed focused and solvent in all of our financial responsibilities, and L'Atelier was finished when Houston reopened.

Keep Reading Show less

DESPITE QUARANTINES, FACE masks and inclement weather, aesthetic medical services are perhaps more popular than ever. In fact, according to reports, the pandemic has caused a boom in demand for plastic surgery, injectables and the like; dermatologists are seeing a record number of patients and mounting waitlists.

Keep Reading Show less

Evelyn's Park streams a one-hour hot pilates class via Facebook Live from 5pm-6pm on Friday

Last week was brutal, Houston. Take this weekend as a chance to recharge with fab food, a livestream workout or some shopping. Here are our picks!

Forget Wine — Attend a Beer & Cheese Pairing

Keep Reading Show less