1. Ken Burns’ “Country Music” sneak preview at ACL Live
6:30 p.m. Sept. 4. Free. 310 Willie Nelson Blvd. klru.org/rsvp
The latest project from the renowned documentary filmmaker is a 16-hour marathon that will air Sept. 15-18 and Sept. 22-25 on PBS stations nationwide. Austin's local affiliate, KLRU, offers this event with excerpts plus a panel discussion about the making of the series. Burns won’t be there, but key collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey will attend, as will former Austinite and University of Texas scholar Bill C. Malone, whose landmark book “Country Music USA” was essential to the series’ content. Moderating the panel will be Terry Lickona, executive director of “Austin City Limits”; the show contributed footage to the series. Also on hand for the discussion will be Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson, with longtime KOKE-FM radio personality Bob Cole serving as host and musician Sarah Gayle Meech performing. An RSVP is required to attend. — Peter Blackstock
2. "Ann" at Zach Theatre
7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $30-$189. 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org
Tough as nails, funny as hell, "Ann" as produced once again by Zach Theatre is an intimate, no-holds-barred portrait of Ann Richards, the legendary governor of Texas in the early 1990s. This time, she'll be played by "Friday Night Lights" actress Libby Villari (rather than the Emmy Award-winning Holland Taylor, who also wrote the play and first performed it in 2011). Villari successfully brings to life a complex, colorful and captivating character bigger than the state from which she hailed.
3. Second Annual Buzzed Spelling Bee
7 p.m. Sept. 4. $40. Cheer Up Charlies, 900 Red River St. facebook.com/events/530294480843929
To kick off the new school year, Austin Bat Cave is inviting champion spellers to participate in a competition that will benefit the organization’s free writing programs for kids. Adult spellers will compete and see if a few drinks help or hurt their skills, with the winner taking home a trophy and other prizes. Raffle prizes also may lure you in. Plus, 2018's Buzzed Bee Champion Ari Gernaat is coming back to defend her title.
4. "Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins"
6:15 and 8 p.m. Sept. 4, 4:45 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5. $11.25. 6406 N. Interstate 35, Ste. 3100. austinfilm.org
Showing at AFS Cinema for a limited time, "Raise Hell" is the story of Molly Ivins, the political columnist and Texas maverick that spoke truth to power and gave voice to those that had none. The first woman to co-edit the Texas Observer, she took on the good ol’ boys, cracking wise and drinking them under the table. At the height of her popularity, 400 newspapers carried her column. The film originally showed at South by Southwest.