December’s must-attend concerts, shows, and festivals.
The seventy-ninth consecutive Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball, an official state historical event reenactingThat Lively Gaited Sworray,which occurred in 1885, welcomes ladies to dance to Michael Martin Murphey singing “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” so long as they’re not wearing split skirts. Pioneer Hall, December 19–21, ansoncowboyschristmasball.com
For those who don’t want to sweat it out under the sun at Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic, there’s the Red Headed Stranger’s other yearly ritual, the Willie and Friends Family New Year concerts, held inside, in comfort. Austin City Limits Live, December 30 & 31, acl-live.com
Waco-born theater director and mixed-media artist Robert Wilson was a Guggenheim fellow and received a Pulitzer nom, leading to collaborations with Philip Glass, Tom Waits, and Lady Gaga, which he will discuss during the NasherSalon speaker series. Nasher Sculpture Center, December 2, nashersculpturecenter.org
This year, instead of fighting traffic driving through neighborhoods to see Christmas lights, consider boarding one of the Christmas Cruises on Buffalo Bayou for a thirty-minute pontoon ride with views of the city’s holiday decorations—and plenty of caroling. Allen’s Landing, December 6, 7, 13, 14 & 21, buffalobayou.org
From the Mariachi Mass on December 1 to the performance by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán on December 7, the seven-day Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, the biggest mariachi festival of its kind, will immerse people in this Mexican folk style of music. Various locations, December 1–7,mariachimusic.com