Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from LeAnn Rimes in Fort Worth to an Andy Warhol exhibit in San Antonio. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[Jan 27–Feb 2]
Rimes With Cline
LeAnn Rimes ’s talent roused great expectations. At thirteen, with her rendition of the song “Blue,” she was destined to be the next Patsy Cline—both singers of remarkable tone and restraint—which was a lot of pressure to put on someone who had barely hit puberty. Rimes played the part for a while, but things came undone around age twenty, with the release of the album Twisted Angel. A new, grown-up Rimes emerged, with attitude and pop ambition. Even while she was en route to selling 37 million albums, she was searching for her identity. Now 29, she seems to be back to the Patsy Cline ideal. Her salacious marriage to the actor Eddie Cibrian, who inspired multiple songs on her forthcoming album, is a real-life equivalent of Cline’s country classic “Crazy.” Meanwhile, other songs on her album were written on a vintage guitar given to her by Buck Owens—a contemporary of Cline’s. See how well the Cline comparison holds up when Rimes returns home to the Metroplex.
Bass Hall, January 28, 8 p.m. leannrimesworld.com
Creatures of Habitat
Farmland World has the makings of a Kurt Vonnegut story. The futuristic amusement park, where humans pay admission to put on overalls and immerse themselves in agrarian practices, was created by the Illinois designers Allison Newmeyer and Stewart Hicks. The project is one of eleven winning entries in the first Animal Architecture Awards , which recognize architectural ideas that take into consideration the surrounding biology. Some of the more practical winners include two projects from London: birdhouses installed around the city for the Summer Olympics to showcase the avian population, and bee habitats installed on the periphery of the city to boost the species’ dwindling population. “Nobody is talking about the animals that exist around our cities,” said Ned Dodington, a Rice University architecture graduate who, with a fellow alumnus, Jon LaRocca, conceived the competition as the next progression in the sustainability trend. It’s a far-out yet pragmatic concept that Dodington and LaRocca will try to break down in a panel discussion concurrent with an exhibition of the winning entries. “It’s about treating animals with a greater amount of respect,” Dodington said.
Architecture Center Houston, February 2, 5:30 p.m. aiahouston.org
Rene Barilleaux does not think Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes are up. The chief curator at the McNay Art Museum has mounted the exhibition “Fame and Misfortune,” in which the pop artist’s dueling obsessions with celebrity and tragedy collide. “Warhol is an enigma,” Barilleaux said. “You can mine him in so many different ways.” The exhibition, exclusive to the McNay, comprises 150 works from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The fame half will include paintings of Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Chairman Mao; the misfortune half will include depictions of car crashes, skulls, and the electric chair at Sing Sing that was used to execute the Rosenbergs. There will also be source material for several key works, including two press photographs used to create Monroe’s likeness, plus some of Warhol’s earliest films. The first considerable Warhol exhibition in the region is particularly timely for University of Texas alumni who want their Andy Warhol painting of Farrah Fawcett back from Ryan O’Neal.
McNay Art Museum, February 1-May 20, various times. mcnayart.org
Johnny Winter laid the foundation for white bluesmen in Texas, like the Vaughan brothers, to be taken seriously in a stereotypically black idiom. His gruff vocals and powerhouse guitar-playing are acts of catharsis for all the double-takes he endured as a lanky, long-haired albino. His blues aren’t manufactured; they’re lived. Muddy Waters, an icon of the genre, could tell the difference. He entrusted Winter to produce three of his albums at a pivotal time in his career. Waters earned three Grammys as a result and enjoyed one of his most profitable periods. Get educated about the most influential form of American music when Winter makes a stop in Texas on his tour in support of Roots, his new album of old songs.
Granada Theater, February 1, 7 p.m. johnnywinter.net
A Hero’s Welcome
When troops came home from Vietnam, many people turned their backs, but the Houston Liberty Festival, a celebration of the troops returning from the Middle East, will not repeat those mistakes.
American Shooting Centers, January 27-29, various times. houstonlibertyfestival.com
The New Year’s Day murder of Esme Barrera, a teacher of children and champion of music, has sparked a community to rally to restore its innocence, and a starting point is A Night for Esme , where bands will rock in memoriam.
Beerland, January 28, 2 & 8 p.m. beerlandtexas.com