Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from Jimmie Vaughan's homecoming in Oak Cliff to the races (both car and pigs) at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[Nov 4–Nov 13]
Jimmie Vaughan split from the South Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff to Austin nearly as soon as he was able to drive, and his little brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, soon followed. Now their old stomping grounds, which is enjoying a renaissance, wants them back. In an effort to reclaim the guitarists as Dallas’s own, the Oak Cliff Cultural Center will host “The Vaughan Brothers in Dallas: A Photo Exhibit,” culled from shots by Kirby Warnock—including one of Stevie Ray playing a Freddie King memorial concert in 1980, with his famed Fender Stratocaster only days after he bought it, before he stickered it with “SRV.” Concurrently, the Texas Theater will host a concert by Jimmie and his Tilt-a-Whirl Band that will be augmented with a Q&A and a slide show from the Vaughan family archives. It will be his first gig in Oak Cliff—not elsewhere in Dallas—in more than 45 years, since he was a fourteen-year-old guitarist in the Pendulums, playing Sunset High School’s Bisonettes Winter Dance. “I have always felt that Jimmie never got the respect he deserved,” Warnock said. “As Jesus once said, ‘A prophet is not recognized in his own land.’”
Oak Cliff Cultural Center, Nov 4-10, various times. dallasculture.org, The Texas Theater, Nov 10, 8 p.m. thetexastheatre.com
We Come in Peace
A seminar on extraterrestrials in a South Texas border city nearly 1,500 miles from Area 51 may be unexpected, but the inaugural Laredo UFO Conference looks to be the real deal. The keynote speaker is Travis Walton, whose abduction by aliens in Arizona, in 1975, is considered one of the best accounts of an encounter with the third kind and was the inspiration for the movie Fire in the Sky. “Frankly, I had not seen the movie, but once we put that up on the website, people started calling right away,” said Margarita Araiza of the Webb County Heritage Foundation. “We even had an inquiry from Ukraine.” The foundation was inspired to organize the conference after a UFO sighting in the area coincided with a recent exhibit on local myths and haunted sites. Supplementing Mr. Walton’s presentation, which occurs 36 years to the day from his abduction, will be a panel with the Laredo Paranormal Research Society, with videotape of “unexplained stuff in the sky,” and Noe Torres, a local expert who will convince you that Laredo has long been the epicenter of UFO activity.
Texas A&M International University, Nov 5, 9:30 a.m. webbheritage.org
Film festivals without a twist are as passé as 3-D in this era of new media. Cinema Arts Festival, though primarily a showcase of movies, collaborates with other Houston cultural organizations to invent new genres. “We’re something in between a film festival and an arts fair,” said Richard Herskowitz, the festival’s artistic director. “A lot of the works we show are hybrids.” The Procession to Calvary, the sixteenth-century painting by Pieter Bruegel, will come to life in the Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski’s Bruegel Suite, a series of live-action “video paintings” in which human actors are digitally inserted into paintings and then projected onto screens. The world premiere of Art Car: The Movie, meanwhile, will also be a moveable feast, with a parade of the movie’s subjects. For celebrity oglers, Ethan Hawke, a Texas native, will receive the Cinema Arts Award, screen his new movie, The Woman in the Fifth, and have a talk with a fellow Texas filmmaker, Richard Linklater.
Various locations, Nov. 9-13, various times. cinemartsociety.org
Now that Stephen King is on the case of the John F. Kennedy assassination, we might at last get to the bottom of one of the nation’s most infamous whodunits. King rewrites history in his new 960-page tome, “11/22/63: A Novel,” about a high school English teacher who goes back in time to save President Kennedy’s life. The Majestic Theater will host a chat with King, with ticket sales benefiting the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza , where King conducted research. It will be a relief to stop dwelling on the past and instead consider what might have been. And given King’s vast imagination, the Q&A will most likely elicit conspiracy theories that didn’t make the book’s final edit.
The Majestic Theater, Nov 10, 7 p.m. stephenking.com
The AAA Texas 500 Weekend is ideal for converting people who stereotype racing, because it offers them options: watching cars or trucks, or bypassing the racing and just going to the No Limits Garage Party, with mechanical bulls, pig races and gun fighters.
Texas Motor Speedway, Nov. 4-6, various times. texasmotorspeedway.com
Retailers have had holiday decorations up for weeks, which means you are already behind on shopping — for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever — so go to the Dallas Sample Sale and stock up on variety and quality.
Dallas Market Center, Nov 4-6, various times. dallasmarketcenter.com