- Brad Buchholz American-Statesman Staff
George Oldziey plays piano, writes film scores, loves jazz. He’s most renowned for his musical collaborations with Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. But deep down, Oldziey has always had a soft spot in his heart for Latin music, Latin rhythm. It’s a passion that goes back 30 years, to his college days, when he played trumpet in salsa bands in his native New Jersey.
Re-connecting with those old spirits, Oldziey (pronounced Old-zhay) recently put together his own band — GATO 6 — and recorded an album of horn-happy, sophisticated Latin jazz. It’s a cool album: Lively cha-cha, salsa, samba, and cumbia with Blue Note-worthy horn arrangements.
“I’ve always loved Latin music. Those rhythms have always been a part of me,” says Oldziey, whose band plays the Elephant Room Friday at 9:30 p.m. “I love jazz and be-bop, too.” But in terms of energy and rhythm, Latin music “is like driving a Porsche, compared to, say, an elegant Mercedes.”
“El Viento” is an ambitious record. Oldziey composed the music Ellington-style, writing parts specifically tailored to the key players in his band — Austin saxophonist John Mills and Houston trumpet player Dennis Dotson. All the tunes are originals with the exception of “Unchain My Heart,” the Ray Charles standard that Oldziey transforms into a joyful, jazzy cha-cha with the help of his wife, jazz singer Suzi Stern.
“Most salsa arrangements don’t have a lot of harmonic development. They’re mostly screaming brass and powerful singing,” says Oldziey, who plays piano in GATO 6. “What I tried to do was superimpose a jazz aesthetic over that tone, to produce less predictable lines.”
Theater & dance
“And Then Came Tango.” A story about two male penguins who want to have a child. 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday. Free. UT’s Oscar G. Brockett Theater, 300 E. 23rd St. 471-5793, www.uttad.tumblr.com/post/33723637267/and-then-came-tango-nov-30-dec-2.
“April Fools.” Tapestry Dance performs, with music by Datri Bean and the Butter Bean Band. 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $17.50-$35. Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 474-5664, www.tapestry.org.
Waves of Grace. Blue Lapis Light presents students performing aerial dances. 8 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $12-$15. Boyd Vance Theater at the Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. 288-1929, www.bluelapislight.org.
Guzu Gallery. “Strange Beasts,” a tribute to the Japanese Kaiju phenomenon. Opening reception 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. Through Dec. 31. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Tuesdays and Thursdays-Fridays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 5000 N. Lamar Blvd. 454-4898, www.guzugallery.com.
Author appearance. Deb Perelman speaks and signs “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.” 7 p.m. Friday. Free. BookPeople, 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 472-5050, www.bookpeople.com.
Events & programs
B Scene. A Jazz Age-inspired installation of the series, with champagne, dancing and music by Whiskey Shivers. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. $5-$12. The Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 471-7324, www.theblantonmuseum.org.
The GiveBak. The FeedBak hosts benefit for Hope for Senegal, with live and silent auctions, live performances and food. 10 p.m. Friday. $5-$15. Hotel Vegas, 1500 East 6th St. 524-1584, www.teranga.org.
Movember Mustache Happy Hour. Features a raffle, a wet mustache contest, cocktails and cupcakes; benefits nonprofit Movember and Sons. 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Free. Urban Betty, 1206 W. 38th St., Suite 1107. 371-7663, www.movemberhappyhour.eventbrite.com.
Central Christian Church Christmas Bazaar. Features local vendors and food. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Free. Central Christian Church, 1110 Guadalupe St. 940-2322, www.cccaustin.org.
“Dashing Through the Snow.” A Christmas comedy. Opens Friday. 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, through Dec. 15; 2 p.m. matinees Dec. 9 and Dec. 15. $10-$12. The Gaslight-Baker Theatre, 216 S. Main St., Lockhart. 376-5653, www.gaslightbakertheatre.org.
A Dickens Christmas in Lockhart. Downtown Lockhart gets transformed into 19th-century England; features a parade, vendors, food, crafts and more. 6 p.m. to dusk Friday, 9:30 a.m. to dusk Saturday. Free. Downtown Lockhart on the Square. 398-3223, www.lockhartchamber.com/pages/DickensChristmas.
Holiday Olé. Shop for Christmas gifts made by Austin artists, all under $99 apiece. 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Free. Dragonfly Gallery at Rosedale, 4007 Marathon Blvd. 420-9000, www.dragonflygallerytx.com.
“La PastoreNovela.” ALTA presents a family Christmas comedy. Opens Friday. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, through Dec. 15, plus a 4 p.m. matinee Dec. 8. $13-$18. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. 537-2582, www.altateatro.com/la-pastorela.
“The Nutcracker.” Ballet New Braunfels presents the classic Christmas tale. 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday. $25-$30. Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre, 290 W. San Antonio St., New Braunfels. 830-627-0808, www.brauntex.org.
Sun City Holiday Homes Tour. The Kiwanis Club of Sun City Georgetown presents a tour of six homes decked out for Christmas. 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. $10-$15. Map of locations in Georgetown on back of each ticket. www.suncitykiwanisgt.org/HHT.html.
Blue Starlite Urban Mini Drive-In. “Cinema Six,” presented by Slackerwood and the Austin Film Society. 8 p.m. Friday. Drive-in slots $25, walk-in and bike-in admission $5. Blue Starlite III, 1901 E. 51st St. www.bluestarlitedrivein.com.
Moviemaker Dialogue. Film producer Ted Hope (“American Splendor,” “21 Grams”) speaks about sustainable film culture. 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. $5-$10. AFS Screening Room, 1901 E. 51st St. www.austinfilm.org.
Austin Music Memorial. The city will honor Stephen Bruton, Connie “Pee Wee” Crayton, Manuel S. Limon Sr., Robin Shivers, Don Walser, and Nathaniel Williams Sr. with as part of the 2012 Austin Music Memorial. 7 p.m. Friday. City Hall, 301 W. Second St. austintexas.gov
Beyond the Score. The Austin Symphony Orchestra performs Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $23-$54. Michael & Susan Dell Hall at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 474-5664, www.thelongcenter.org.
Saint Cecilia Baroque Festival. Friday: The Cantors of St. Thomas Leipzig, 8 p.m. $10-$20. Saturday: KMFA’s Ancient Voices with Sara Hessel, 8 p.m. $10-$20. Sunday: An Early Baroque Christmas, 4 p.m. $10-$20. First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive. 345-8866, www.scmsaustin.org.