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.
[JAN 7– JAN 13]
Mysterion the Magnificent, world-famous stage performer and mesmerist, has been promised control of Earth. All he has to do is help the sludge monsters from the planet Zygon carry out their evil plans. Standing in their way is Molly Sloan, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, and her cast of earthling defenders. Such is the premise of The Intergalactic Nemesis, a graphic novel that will come to life onstage for one night only in Austin. “I was a total Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark fanboy when I was a kid,” Jason Neulander, the show’s producer and director, said. “This is the poor man’s attempt to create that sense of wonder and adventure.” But what some call poor, others call resourceful. The two-hour show features three actors voicing dozens of characters, one foley artist making hundreds of sounds, and one keyboardist providing the score for 1,250 hand-drawn, full-color images—all in real time. The result is a fantastical production that merges old-school radio dramas with cutting-edge pulp serials and features the only merchandise booth in the galaxy to offer bottled Zygonian slime.
The Long Center for the Performing Arts, Jan 8, 8 p.m.
Anyone following college football last off-season knows there was a lot of hullabaloo about the Aggies of Texas A&M University leaving the Big 12, their current conference, and joining the Southeastern Conference. But given their track record—they’ve lost eight of their last nine bowl games, including three to SEC teams (Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State)—would they have been up for it? Their Cotton Bowl game against the Tigers of Louisiana State University, also of the SEC, is their chance to prove it. Some credit the resurrection of the vaunted Wrecking Crew defense for the Aggies return to form, but it’s the high-powered offense, propelled by mid-season replacement quarterback Ryan Tannehill, that has them riding a six-game winning streak. When was the last time anyone was able to wave that Twelfth Man flag with something meaningful on the line?
Cowboys Stadium, Jan 7, 7 p.m.
The Iceman Cometh
Reverend Butter is the first rock star of ice sculpting. His black clothing, tattooed arms, and cowboy hat might be a distraction were it not for his skills of addition by subtraction. “I was nicknamed Butter for the way I slice, dice, and sacrifice the ice,” the Houston resident said. This weekend, Reverend Butter will host the third annual Magnificent Seven Ice Sculpting Competition, which involves seven of the world’s best ice sculptors employing chainsaws and blowtorches to make art out of a one-ton hunk of ice in five hours time. What the winner doesn’t know is that he’ll then have to battle the Reverend himself in a Texas Ice Fight, consisting of six hundred pounds of ice, three 15-minute rounds, two chainsaws, and a live rock band. Taking on the Edward Scissorhands of the game should be just a tad daunting. “My chainsaw is an extension of my arm,” he said.
Discovery Green, Jan 8, 10 a.m.
John Bankhead Magruder was a major general with impeccable timing: He waited until the morning of the first day of 1863, as Union forces occupying Galveston Harbor were nursing New Year’s Eve hangovers, to rally his Confederate troops and blindside the enemy. The Battle of Galveston, as it was called, resulted in the expulsion of Union ships and guaranteed that the port remained under Confederate control for the rest of the Civil War. The Battle of Galveston: A Commemoration is a three-day celebration of that victory that will include battle reenactments, living history encampments, and a collodion photography demonstration. Given the Galveston Historical Foundation’s reputation for spot-on portrayals of bygone eras, this will be as authentic a Civil War reenactment as there is. More important, it will be a celebration of our outwitting the Yanks.
The Strand Historic District, Jan 7–9, various times.
Strip away the rhinestone jumpsuit and gold aviators and you have one-of-a-kind Elvis impersonator Ted Roddy, who along with his twelve-piece King Conjure Orchestra will host his twice-yearly Tribute to the King on what would have been his 76th birthday. The Continental Club, Jan 8, various times.
The Sporting Life
The 15th Annual Texas Fishing, Hunting and Outdoors Show has something for the Ernest Hemingway in all of us: birds of prey on display, free fishing rods to the first 250 kids each day, and demonstrations of must-have outdoorsman products like the Bassroom, a portable toilet for boats.
Dallas Market Hall, Jan 7–9, 10 a.m.
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Five more gotta-see, gotta-do events that you can’t afford to miss.
By Melanie Gasmen
Dallas Safari Club Convention
Avid and novice hunters alike will enjoy this mix of seminars moderated by professionals, more than one thousand exhibitors, and approximately seven hundred vendors, including gear companies, jewelers, and furriers.
Dallas Convention Center, Jan 6–9, various times.
Binational Independent Film Festival
A celebration of independent filmmakers, with an emphasis on those from the border between the United States and Mexico. In addition to various speaking engagements by directors, producers, and actors (including Francesco Taboada, Alison Mason, and Seymour Cassel), features, shorts, and documentaries will premiere in both El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.
Various locations in El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, Jan 7–15, various times.
The Music of Michael Jackson
The Fort Worth Symphony plays hit after hit from the King of Pop, who reigned over the music industry from his days in the Jackson 5 to his outrageously popular album Thriller.