Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from the opera in Houston and Friday night lights in Odessa to surfing along the coast and hiking in the mountains. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[Apr 8–Apr 14]
Photograph by Jenny Risher/ USFWS
The Nuge Stays Huge
With his fitness studio, Nuge Java coffee, hunting safaris, Spirit of the Wild television show, and all-around ranting, raving, and politicizing, it would be easy for Ted Nugent to lose sight of his guitar-shredding, vocal-throttling musical pursuits. But this is the Motor City Madman, and his engine is equipped to handle the extra load. “How dare I deny my fellow man such glorious noise and rhythm,” said Nugent, a resident of Waco, concerning his 2011 tour. “I Still Believe,” the title of the tour, comes from his new single of the same name, about the eternal attainability of the American Dream. It’s available for free download on Nugent’s website when you join the mailing list. But why listen to it on your computer when you can experience it in the manic live setting Nugent’s kick-off show, in his own town, will no doubt offer? There will be an overdose of both soap-boxing and “ferocious animal roustabout musical outrage.” “This year I’m going into thrilling detail of where, how, and when my musical dreams and songs erupted,” Nugent said.
Hog Creek Icehouse, Apr 14, 7 p.m.
Daughters Know Best
This year’s Fiesta San Antonio, the 120th annual, 11-day extravaganza of more than one hundred heritage events, will not be without controversy. The Pilgrimage to the Alamo, a processional hosted by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas since 1925, will be under close scrutiny. The Daughters, the 120-year-old caretakers of the historic site, are under investigation by the Texas attorney general’s office on accusations of mismanagement. But the Daughters are a tradition-rich society. They will not go gentle into that good night. Multiple chapters of the organization will likely turn out in a most passionate demonstration of Texanism. Regardless of whose side you are on, joining in on the demonstration is a chance to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Texas independence. And then there are always more than 99 other options from which to choose.
Various locations, Apr 7–17, various times.
AUSTIN, HOUSTON, SAN ANTONIO
Stretch the Canvas
So much passes for art these days that it’s hard to distinguish between good and bad. Biennials, exhibitions held once every two years, showcase a composite of the good. The Texas Biennial champions the state’s finest contemporary art. There have been past attempts at Texas biennials, but none had ever made it past the first installment. The Texas Biennial is in its fourth. You don’t really have an excuse not to go and view the world through the prisms of 49 talented artists, since this year’s biennial will, for the first time, simultaneously take place in three cities: Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. And since the Texas Commission on the Arts, a major funder of the event, could have its budget gutted by the 82nd Texas Legislature, this could quite possibly be the Texas Biennial’s last hurrah.
Various locations, Apr 9–May 14, various times.
Photograph by Cat Le Vrier
Something happened at last year’s Texas Open that hadn’t in the 17 years prior: A foreigner, Adam Scott of Australia, won. That’s remarkable considering the draw an 88-year-old golf tournament (the PGA’s third oldest) should have on an increasingly international playing field. In those 17 years, the Texas Open was won five times by Texans (Dallas’s Justin Leonard won it thrice) and once by an Illinoisan who went to Texas A&M. It’s safe to say this tourney is territorial. But it’s too early to confirm who will vie to reclaim the title. That’s because the Masters, the holy grail of golf, is the weekend before. And any golfer who plays well in that deserves a weekend off to decompress. By that logic, there’s an outside shot Tiger Woods, who continues to play uninspired golf, might just tee off at the Open for the extra practice.
TPC San Antonio, Apr 14–17, various times.
Photograph by Rhode, Karen/ USFWS
When at the Prairie Chicken Festival you hear the whirring sounds of a male—or are lucky enough to see its yellow air sacs expand and feet stomp excitedly—then you know a whoopee session is around the corner, and there’s a chance that this critically endangered species could gain some new members.
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Apr 9 & 10, various times.
Photograph by Suzie Solomon
Salvation and Sin
Gospel music and bluegrass aren’t exactly strangers, but to witness their fusion in the hands of family bands unconcerned with major label contracts in an unpretentious out-of-the-way church, as is with the North Texas GospelGrass, is to walk with Jesus and dance with the Devil.
Harmony Baptist Church, Apr 9, 10 a.m.
• • • • •
Eight more gotta-see, gotta-do events that you can’t afford to miss.