Two different art worlds — which coincidentally happen to be the very best Brownwood has to offer — overlap here this weekend. Don’t try to tell me there’s nothing to do in this community.

The 20th annual Stars of Texas Juried Art Exhibit concludes its two-week run Saturday at The Depot Civic and Cultural Center, and the final installment promises to be a dandy. For the 13th consecutive year, a Paint-Off Competition will invite artists to produce finished pieces of art — from start to finish —in just a few hours, as members of the public look on.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, the Lyric Theatre will present its first show of the 2018 season, “A Few Good Men” by Aaron Sorkin. The drama opens at 7:30 p.m. today. In all, four shows are scheduled this weekend and next.

It happens that another popular art exhibit is under way just around the corner from the Lyric: the Salon des Refusés at the Art Center at 215 Fisk. Since the Lyric has a matinee planned on Saturday, you can visit that exhibit and then still make the 2:30 p.m. curtain without having to move your parked car.

Perhaps having lunch at one of the dining spots downtown would be in order, as well.

The Stars of Texas and the Salon des Refusés have both enjoyed generous promotion this month, but time passes quickly. If you haven’t stopped by, it’s not too late. Hours today are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and hours Saturday are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday’s Paint-Off Competition will begin following registration from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Now, I’ll direct your attending to “A Few Good Men.” If you’ve never seen the 1992 movie with the same name, you are in for a real treat. And even if you have seen the movie, the treat is still there for the taking. Seeing it would be an ideal way to appreciate the differences between watching a story told on film and seeing that same story unfold in person on stage. And after spending an evening with the cast during a rehearsal earlier this week, I know of what I speak.

So, here’s my confession. I figured several days ago that it might be appropriate to base this week’s column on the Lyric production. Several friends are in the show, and I had heard a great deal about it. However, I didn’t feel I should write about it without having first seen what the Lyric company has in store for its audiences this time.

I set aside Tuesday night to slip into the theater and see what was happening. I figured maybe I would spend an hour watching rehearsal — or maybe even see the entire first act — and then be on my way.

It’s a drama, but there are numerous funny lines. I hope the audiences catch those situations and respond. The writing by Sorkin, and the acting by the all-local cast, are incredible.

I was urged by the tech crew to stay at least until the second act began, because the change in the set is almost as dramatic as the plot. I did, and I was hooked. I couldn’t bring myself to leave as the courtroom dialogue became increasingly tense.

The story is complex, but it is carefully explained. Characters are developed. Staging is amazing.

You’ll be hard-pressed to see better theater anywhere.


Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at