Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from walking in Gus and Call's footsteps in Graham to snagging a much-desired collectible in Round Top. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss. [Sep 23–Sep 30]
At the heart of Lonesome Dove, the epic cattle-drive novel by the Texas writer Larry McMurtry, is a “bromance” for the ages. The bond between stoic Call and freewheeling Gus, two former Texas Rangers who are modeled after Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, respectively, is exemplified by Call transporting on horse his dead buddy’s body from Montana to be buried in Texas soil. The Lonesome Dove Weekend, a retracing of points of interest in the real story on which Lonesome Dove is based, will pay homage to that beatific act with a visit to Loving’s gravesite. Your guides for the weekend will include Alan C. Huffines, a western writer; Dorman Holub, a preacher; and Anne Street Skipper, owner of Wildcatter Ranch, the home base for the weekend’s activities. “I grew up in this area knowing all the stories and all the people,” said Skipper, a descendant of the town’s eponym, Colonel E. S. Graham, about the land near the start of the Goodnight-Loving Trail and the cattlemen who shaped that wild country. See if you can spot where McMurtry turned fact into fiction.
Wildcatter Ranch, Sept 23–25, various times. wildcatterranch.com
The bad news: Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, the surprise guest at this year’s Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love, played Thursday night. The good news: Marfa is a very small town, and the chances of seeing Plant milling about this weekend with the songstress Patty Griffin, his rumored new squeeze, are good. Plant’s appearance at the festival affirms its stature and makes a convincing argument to make the trek to far West Texas to see video installations by University of Texas architecture students, to experience a baseball game between Austin’s Texas Playboys and Marfa’s Los Yonke Gallos, and to camp in a yurt, teepee, or tent. “One of the developments that I love most about the weekend is that we’ve put together the El Cosmico Family Band,” said Liz Lambert, the Texas boutique-hotel proprietress whose El Cosmico, a campsite “hotel” with trailers for accommodations, plays host to the fest. “So Tift Merritt, the Heartless Bastards, Alejandro Escovedo, Amy Cook, Ben Kweller—all of these folks who have played the festival before—learn everybody’s music and basically do one four-hour-long jam. It’s magical.”
El Cosmico, Sept 23–25, various times. elcosmico.com
Power to the People
With social services shrinking, the adage that it takes a village is especially apropos. TEDxTheWoodlands, an offshoot of the global think-tank conference TED, was organized as a result. “It’s a clarion call for open-minded, creative and socially responsible people locally to come together to hear ideas and build a community of problem-solvers,” said Peter Han, president of Inventors Without Borders, who is organizing the event with his thirteen-year-old son, Fabian Fernandez-Han. “You may be surprised to hear that The Woodlands, despite its affluence, has problems with homelessness, hunger, lack of access to medical care and locked-in seniors.” Han was inspired to produce the conference after he and his other son, Javier Fernandez-Han, a seventeen-year-old inventor, spoke at a TED youth conference in Tapei, Taiwan. The theme for TEDxTheWoodlands is “Kaleidoscope Mind,” which will allow for a discussion on making the most out of cheap and simple household products.
Music Hall at Lone Star College–Montgomery, Sept 24, 8 a.m.
The trick with collecting old stuff is distinguishing between one-of-a-kind items and pieces of junk. It’s a safe bet you won’t be sold fool’s gold at the 44th Original Round Top Fall Antiques Fair, the anchor antiques show among approximately forty in the Round Top area next week. “We’re not some place where some old woman has decorated items that’s she accumulated over time and doesn’t know what she has,” said Susan Franks, the fair’s owner. “We have all antiques. There are no reproductions, no new items.” Professional vendors will inhabit tens of thousands of square feet of tents, a barn, and a dancehall to purvey high-quality Americana, old industrial, and mid-century-modern pieces, among others, to savvy collectors.
Big Red Barn and Tent, Continental Tent, and Carmine Dance Hall,
Sept 28–Oct 1, various times. roundtopantiquesfair.com
Watch the American swallow-tailed kite, a “threatened” raptor whose wingspan is known to measure at least four feet, prove grace can come in large packages during the Fennessey Ranch Hawk Watch Field Day.
Fennessey Ranch, Sept 24, 7:30 a.m. fennesseyranch.com
Peel and Eat
Forrest Gump told us many tasty ways to fix shrimp, but he failed to include serving it with a side of Nakia, the Austin soul singer from the TV show “The Voice,” who will perform in addition to Bob Schneider at the Wild Texas Galveston Island Shrimp Festival.
Historic Strand District, Pier 21, and Moody Gardens, Sept. 23–25, various times. yagaspresents.com