THROW YOUR PLANS OUT the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from Kenny Rogers' Christmas and Hits show in San Antonio to the Stallion Boots trunk show in Houston. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
Mr. Rogers’s Renaissance
Kenny Rogers has no reason to fold ’em. The Houston native’s popularity is surging among his original fans, who have propelled his new memoir, Luck Or Something Like It, to the New York Times best-seller list. He is also attracting a new generation of fans, who he won over earlier this year when he performed at the Bonnaroo Festival. The two audiences will come together to support Rogers when he returns to his home state to perform his annual Christmas and Hits Tour, where a local choir will join him for standards like “O Holy Night” and “Away in a Manger.” The show, which is in its 31st year, is now a standard for Rogers. It morphed from a regular performance of his hits to a yearly holiday gig after a heckler at a December show prompted him to sing some Christmas songs. “So I went home and put together an extravagant Christmas show,” Rogers said. “And then when I was singing ‘Silent Night,’ someone yelled out, ‘Play “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.’ I learned you can’t make everyone happy. So now the show is half and half.”
Majestic Theatre, December 10, 7:30 p.m., kennyrogers.com
Get the Boot
Don’t ask Pedro Muñoz how long it will take to break in a pair of his boots. “They should be as comfortable as house slippers,” Muñoz said. “I’m not exaggerating on that statement.” The El Paso resident and owner of Stallion Boots has been making mid-century-style boots for 33 years. Muñoz grew up on a ranch in the mountains of Mexico and later worked at a hospital after college, where his work shoes were a pair of boots that had been custom-designed in Juárez by a boot-maker who crafted shoes for Muñoz’s father. While on the job, some pharmaceutical representatives took notice and connected him with buyers in Dallas and Houston. Thus a business was born on the wave of the Urban Cowboy craze. Now Muñoz counts Bob Dylan among his clients. “He doesn’t have a pair,” Muñoz said. “He has several pairs.” See what all the fuss is about at the Stallion Boots Holiday Trunk Show , where Muñoz will be on hand to measure for a new pair, adjust an old pair or sell one of the pairs on display. Be prepared to drop a hefty sum—the average pair is about $1,500.
Pinto Ranch, December 8, 10 a.m., pintoranch.com
Shop Till You Drop
Neiman Marcus is more than a department store; it’s a way of life. Fred Wiseman, the acclaimed documentary filmmaker, captured this tony world of the Dallas-based retail emporium in his 1983 film The Store . Wiseman employs his trademark cinema verite style for the first time in color, on display at a special 16-millimeter screening at the Texas Theatre. Viewers might find themselves feeling surprisingly empathetic toward the regular customers who spend their days trying on clothes more expensive than most people’s mortgages. Then viewers might laugh as they watch saleswomen go through “smile exercises.” Dress to impress for the post-screening cocktail party, where discussion will most likely turn to the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book and the $99,500 water-propelled jetpack it offers.
The Texas Theatre, December 8, 8 p.m., thetexastheatre.com
Texans have a thing for the Wyeths, the heralded Pennsylvania family of painters and sketch artists spanning three generations. President George W. Bush presented Andrew Wyeth with a National Medal of Arts, and “ The Wyeths Across Texas ,” an exhibition closing this weekend at the Tyler Museum of Art, is composed of works exclusively from Texas collectors. Trace the talent from N.C., the father, whose works appeared in magazines like The Saturday Evening Post and in Scribner’s Classics like Treasure Island ; to Andrew, the son, whose realist masterpiece “Christina’s World” epitomizes the style and is in the Museum of Modern Art; to Jamie, the grandson, whose works are the byproduct of two expert teachers.
Tyler Museum of Art, December 7-9, various times, tylermuseum.org
You can read all about Texas-style fiddling in “ Everyday Music ,” the new book on traditional Texas genres by the Dallas historian Alan Govenar, and then experience it at Sunday’s book-signing, where Wes Westmoreland III from nearby Gustine will perform.
Hamilton Public Library, December 9, 2 p.m., docarts.com
Rallying the Troops
Sometimes the person behind the next great idea just needs a little pep talk to convert it into the next great invention, which is how it could play out at Dell World 2012 , the technology conference where the keynote speaker this year is President Bill Clinton.
Austin Convention Center, December 11-13, 8:30 a.m., dellworld.com