Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from a seeing Lindale native Miranda Lambert in Dallas and the Future Music Summit in Round Top to songwriting lessons from Jimmie Dale Gilmore in Marfa. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[May 11–May 20]



Blond Bombshell
Miranda Lambert doesn’t back down from anybody. Not from Chris Brown, with whom she got in a Twitter war about his behavior toward women, or even her husband, Blake Shelton, a fellow country singer with whom she is in constant competition for the household crown. Anthems of Lambert’s include “Gunpowder & Lead,” about a woman standing up to her domineering ex-boyfriend; “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” about a woman who wants to kick the rear-end of her old boyfriend’s new girlfriend; and “Kerosene,” the song that thrust Lambert, a Lindale native, into the realm of Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood, with imagery of a woman burning down a cheating boyfriend’s house. In an interview with Skip Hollandsworth of TEXAS MONTHLY, Lambert pointed to her tattoo of intertwined revolvers with wings. “The wings are my way of saying, I’m a nice, down-home, small-town girl,” she said. “But if you do me wrong, you better watch out, because I won’t take any of your crap.” Women will leave Lambert’s show empowered, and men will leave thinking twice about how they treat their women.
Gexa Energy Pavilion, May 12, 7:30 p.m.,


Mother’s Little Helper
The apron, like other mid-century touchstones, is making a comeback. “I remember growing up and watching Mary Tyler Moore, and they always wore their aprons,” said Reba Smith, the owner of Red Rooster Antiques. “I think there is a desire for that type of lifestyle, when things were simpler.” Whether used to keep clean her Sunday best, carry vegetables in from the garden or wipe away a child’s tear, the apron has long been a woman’s best friend. The eighth annual Apron Strings: Ties to the Past event, organized by Smith, is a Mother’s Day celebration in which vintage and contemporary aprons will be on display on the streets lining the four-block stretch of the Antique Capital of East Texas. Some stores will greet the ladies with flowers. Some bed-and-breakfasts will host tea parties. It will be that rare day you can wear an apron and not expect to be of service to anyone but yourself.
Antique District, May 12, 10 a.m.,


Prog Rock
The integration of computers into popular music has produced mixed results. Some say electronica is transcendent; others think anything but a verse-chorus-verse song is blasphemy. The Future Music Summit strives for new ground where these progressives and purists can jam together. “This is not going to be like Auto-Tune or something hideous like that,” said Maggie Duval, the event’s organizer. The performances accompanying the far-out music technologies will yield full-on multimedia experiences. Mari Kimura, the Japanese composer and violinist, will use a glove on her hand that picks up her bowing motions and augments her sound. Patrick Flanagan, meanwhile, will lead Jazari, a cyborg percussion orchestra purveying “steamfunk,” with two remotes—a Wii, and one of his own creation, made out of Spring Bock horns—that change the pitch, tempo and volume. At the Interactivity Playground, you can practice what you learn at the symposia and see in the world-class concert hall, and you might just discover that this rock star thing has not in fact passed you by.
Round Top Festival Institute, May 11-13, various times,


Crustacean Nation
Catching crabs this time of year in Crystal Beach, the eccentric community on the Bolivar Peninsula, is as easy as wrapping some string around a chicken neck, adding a sinker and dropping the line. And once upon a time, catching a show by Hayes Carll, the Texas singer-songwriter who cut his teeth there at Bob’s Sports Bar, which he chronicled in the song “I Got a Gig,” used to be as easy as snagging a crab. Carll has moved on and Bob’s is closed, but the crustaceans remain. And at the 27th annual Texas Crab Festival, there will be every type of crab except, perhaps, a Krabby Patty.
Gregory Park, May 11-13, various times,


For the Jugular
Lysts on the Lake is a jousting competition that so passionately advertises itself as the real thing—“The armour is real!” “The lances are real!” “The competition is real!”—that it is guaranteed there will be real drama and real consequences among these fierce competitors from all over the world.
East Williamson County Events Center, May 11-13, 8 a.m.,


Brotherhood of Verse
Jimmie Dale Gilmore, of the Flatlanders, and Kevin Welch, collaborator with Waylon Jennings and Patty Loveless, don’t want to just teach you how to write songs; they want to be your buddy, dig your soul, and empower you with the bravado to graduate from their Music is a Family songwriting retreat by playing your own gig at Padre’s.
El Cosmico, May 17-20, various times,