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 14–JAN 20]
Shearwater is its own breed: an environmental rock band. The past three albums by the critically acclaimed Austin band form a trilogy of paeans to the world and its inhabitants, with operatic heft and symphonic attention to detail. The album Palo Santo interprets the life of Nico, the Velvet Underground singer, who died on the island of Ibiza. “She was kind of an island unto herself, a sort of unreachable, unknowable presence,” said Jonathan Meiburg, the band’s choir-boy-voiced singer. The albums Rook and The Golden Archipelago likewise occupy land and sea, war and wilderness, and vanishing human and animal worlds. For one night only—and before the band consciously abandons its elegant sound for a new one that Meiburg calls “more messy, personal, and ecstatic”—Shearwater will present The Island Arc, a single performance of all three albums, in sequence, dispatched at the Central Presbyterian Church, in Austin. There is no better forum for a sermon on creation and apocalypse.
Central Presbyterian Church, Jan 15, 8 p.m.
Marc Lamont Hill thinks Martin Luther King Jr. has been reduced to “a multicultural action figure” used to further peoples’ agendas. “Instead of focusing on his critiques of American racism, his challenge to American imperialism, his project to eradicate global poverty, or his opposition to the war, we have allowed the image of Martin to be hijacked by the religious and secular Right, as well as the socially conservative Left,” Hill wrote on his website. Hill, a Columbia University professor and leading hip-hop era cultural anthropologist, will aim to reclaim King’s legacy through his delivery of Trinity University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture. Two days prior, on MLK Day, you can unite with Trinity University president Dennis Ahlburg and his students, faculty, and staff for San Antonio’s annual Peace March through the city’s East Side. It’s an opportunity for a new generation to symbolically walk a mile in the shoes of the freedom fighter.
Lecture: Trinity University, Jan 19, 7 p.m. March: MLK Freedom Bridge, Jan 17, 10 a.m.
Orange and grapefruit growers in the Rio Grande Valley have reason to party hard at this year’s Texas Citrus Fiesta. The federal government earlier this month lifted a ban on the distribution of Texas citrus to other citrus-producing states, thus restoring a major source of revenue. This small victory (one of the region’s worst droughts still persists) comes just in time for the fiesta, an annual two-week appreciation of the fruits that culminates in a Rose Bowl–type parade and the coronation of King Citrus and Queen Citriana. The affair dates back to 1932, when Paul Ord and the Young Men’s Business League of Mission conceived of the idea for showcasing the area’s agricultural bounty. This year’s festivities begin January 15, with the Product Costume Show, a grand display of outfits decorated with local citrus, other fruits, and vegetables.
Mission Community Center, Jan 15, 2 p.m.
Daniel Johnston, the mentally ill folk singer who Kurt Cobain praised and who quantifies his success by his number of appearances on MTV, is turning fifty years old, and nine bands are joining him to celebrate. The perfect birthday present with which to surprise Johnston onstage is a six-pack of Diet Coke. He will likely down at least that many while alternately cruising and sputtering through a collection of three-and-a-half-minute ditties about ghosts and girls, fame and misfortune. This will necessitate a bathroom break or two for Johnston. It will create the kind of crack-up awkward moments that make him so endearing. Consider it a rare opportunity to bask in the presence of this underground king of pop songcraft. Because on his last album, the overlooked Is and Always Was, Johnston used the song “Freedom” to meditate on his demise: “Last night I dreamed I died in my sleep, only to awake laying in a coffin.”
Fitzgerald’s, Jan 14, 8 p.m.
The 7th Annual Hill Country Cowboy Breakfast starts at 6 a.m., but you won’t need coffee when the eye-opening slate of activities includes bowling with frozen turkeys, speed-milking bleating goats, and “throwing the bull” (slang for tossing a dried cow chip in a bucket, like washers).
Kerr County Courthouse, Jan 14, 6 a.m.
Aside from the havoc wreaked by Bigfoot, in what will be the granddaddy of monster trucking’s return to the mud pit, the Monster Truck Thunder Slam will feature the Globe of Death, a new x-game where motorcyclists ride the insides of a sixteen-foot circular cage.
El Paso County Coliseum, Jan 14–16, various times.
• • • • •
Eight more gotta-see, gotta-do events that you can’t afford to miss.
By Patricia Busa McConnico
George Strait and Reba
Get ready for pure country. It doesn’t get any better than this.
The Frank Erwin Center, Jan 14, 7 p.m.
This production of Mel Brooks’s classic movie about a young doctor, a dead man reborn, and a bride-to-be won the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award.
AT&T Performing Arts Center, Jan 13–Jan 16, various times.
Ever wonder what it’s like to find a hidden treasure chest underwater? Now’s your chance. This hands-on exhibit features artifacts from shipwrecks, a treasure hunt, and more.
Lynx Exhibits, Jan 15–May 29, various times.
Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
This granddaddy of rodeos (yes, it’s been entertaining folks for 114 years) just seems to get better and better. Forget the major acts and theatrics you can see elsewhere; this is for good old-fashioned cowboys and cowgirls. Highlights include barrel racing, calf roping, bull riding, and, for the kids who want to expend some energy, the amusement rides.
Will Rogers Complex, Jan 14–Feb 5, various times.
2nd Annual Yaga’s Chili Quest & Beer Fest
The battle for the best bowl of red is on. Whether you prefer Good Ol’ Chili or Exotic Chili, be prepared for the heat. Which is why sampling one or two brewskies from the more than fifty award-winning beers on hand makes total sense.
Saengerfest Park, Jan 14–Jan 16, noon–4.
West Side Story
The greatest love story. Ever.
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jan 12–Jan 23, various times.
San Antonio Rampage
The ice heats up as the Rampage battle the Oklahoma City Barons.
The AT&T Center, Jan 15, 7 p.m.
Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary
A new retrospective of more than 150 oil paintings, drawings, and field sketches.
The Art Museum of South Texas, Jan 14–Apr 3, various times.