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.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
As the Ball Rotates
Back in 2006, the Dallas Mavericks had all but defeated the Miami Heat for the NBA Championship when Dwyane Wade commenced an out-of-body performance that propelled his team back from two games down to steal the series. Now it’s time for the Mavericks to exact revenge. This rematch has some of the best plotlines in NBA Finals history. Can Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks seven-foot-tall, jump-shooting freak of nature, continue his scoring rampage in pursuit of a ring, completing his transformation from draft-day no-name to one of the greatest players of all-time? Can Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Mavericks, win the first title for the franchise and silence his many critics? And can the Mavericks refuse LeBron James, the league’s Benedict Arnold, from finally wrapping his tattooed arms around the coveted Larry O’Brien Trophy? Games three, four, and five will tip off in Dallas, and unless you’re somebody, tickets are almost impossible to come by. But don’t despair, and don’t go it alone: Head to Frankie’s Sports Bar, where employees in the Mavericks organization hang when they don’t have tickets.
American Airlines Center, June 5, 7 & 9, various times.
Photograph by Lynn Dowd
Man is only as good as the tools with which he’s equipped. A good place to stock up is the One Old Sorehead & One Nice Guy Vintage & Antique Tool Sale. The semi-annual gathering, around since 1997 and now attracting a crowd of roughly a thousand, would endlessly entertain the guys from American Pickers. This year, the Luthiers Interactive of North Texas, a club of guitar-makers, will be on hand to teach their trade. The event’s success is attributed to its colorful name, which is in turn attributed to its colorful organizers. “Some people see a glass as half empty, some see it as half full, but Bill sees it as just another dish that needs to be washed,” said Lynn Dowd, the “Nice Guy” to Bill Underhill’s “Old Sorehead.” With several thousand tools for sale in Dowd’s backyard—some from the late 1700’s—there’s a good chance of paying two bucks for a relic that’s valued at two hundred.
1400 Williams Dr, June 4 & 5, 9:30 a.m.
Courtesy of TEXAS Musical Drama
Deep In the Heart Of
Many of the people who attend the long-running musical drama Texas are not from here—and that’s all the more reason for you to go. Who else is going to lean over and tell the tourist that the two-hour theatrical production they are about to witness, enjoyable though it may be, does not actually encompass the entirety of the state’s history? (The play presents the account of a band of settlers who came to the Panhandle region in the 1800’s.) And who else is going to expand on the story to include a personal account of life in the state, evolving the narrative to present day? The setting for this production, which kicks off its summer run this weekend, is an outdoor amphitheatre in Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the U.S. next to the Grand Canyon. Panoramic views under a night sky filled with stars and fireworks, and complemented by a pre-performance steak grilled on the spot by the legendary Big Texas Steak Ranch, will augment a show overflowing with pride.
Pioneer Amphitheatre, June 4–August 20, 8:30 p.m.
Photograph by Mannie Saqr
Dance, Dance, Revolution
What’s happening to the Dancey Pants Tent? That’s the question attendees of the Free Press Summer Fest, Houston’s version of Lollapalooza, are asking. Last year, the Dancey Pants Tent was the exclusive home to a score of electronic acts. This year, the acts that would normally play it have been integrated into the main stages so that there can be an equal-opportunity dance-off. Upwards of 160 bands playing sixteen stages over the course of two days makes for some tough scheduling. The festival features a number of high-profile Texas acts who recently released albums: new-country singer-songwriter Hayes Carll, funk revivalists Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, and psychedelic droners the Black Angels. This will also be one of the only times you will see Z-Ro, Lil Keke, and Bun B, Houston’s holy trinity of the hip-hop style known as “chopped and screwed,” perform together outside of an invitation-only house party.
Eleanor Tinsley Park, June 4 & 5, 11 a.m.
Appreciate cows for something other than their meat at the 62nd annual National Cow Calling Championship, a weekend of sophisticated mooing, a steak cook-off, and an early-morning, one-mile run with, yes, cows.
Various locations, June 3–5, 7 a.m.
Old 97’s are making up for the time lost when frontman Rhett Miller went solo, so wild abandon is a safe bet when the cow-pop quartet returns home to Texas in advance of its new album, The Grand Theatre Vol. 2.
Sam’s Burger Joint, June 9, 8 p.m.