October—People, Places, Events, Attractions


In mid-April the world waited patiently for white smoke to billow over Vatican City’s Saint Peter’s Square, the signal that the closely guarded keys to the Catholic Church had come into new hands. Now San Antonio unlocks the two thousand years of history from Saint Peter to Pope Benedict XVI when it hosts “Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes,” one of the largest exhibits of Vatican art, documents, and historical objects ever to tour the country (above, a fifteenth-century portrait of Pope Sixtus IV). From a reproduction of Saint Peter’s tomb to a full-room re-creation of the Sistine Chapel, the show’s twelve galleries trace the evolution of the papacy, with artifacts to stun historians, art lovers, and believers alike: Witness Pope Pius VII’s papal tiara, sporting one of the world’s biggest emeralds; the Mandylion of Edessa, the earliest known image of Jesus; and the very smoke cartridge responsible for the white plumes that heralded Pope John Paul II’s successor. Katharyn Rodemann

(For directions and more information, see San Antonio, Museums/Galleries).

On The Road

Oh, the places you should go.

Fair Game | Pick a festival, any festival. Every one’s a winner.

Oktoberfest 9.30–10.2
Oompah. It’s not just a music genre, it’s a lifestyle. Join Fredericksburgers at this twenty-fifth celebration of all things Teutonic and take on a blitzkrieg of more than twenty bands in proper style: with a bratwurst in one hand and a healthy stein of lager in the other. (Details and Directions)

State Fair Of Texas 9.30–10.23
Make good on the “Let yourself go!” edict of the state’s biggest party: Chew with your mouth open at the corny dog–eating championship, let out a snort at the pig races, sing too loud at the concerts, and scream atop the 212-foot Texas Star Ferris wheel. Don’t worry. Big Tex won’t tell. (Details and Directions)

Turkeyfest 10.7–10.9
Turkey for me. Turkey for you. Turkey in a big brown running shoe. Adam Sandler himself would get teary-eyed at this festival’s main event: the Great Gobbler Gallop, a race between poultry from neighboring towns. May the best fowl win the Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph. (Details and Directions)

Texas Rose Festival 10.13–10.16
Stop and do some proverbial sniffing in the nation’s rose capital, where this year’s tribute to the popular garden flower revolves around the theme “the Greatness of Britain.” All may hail the Rose Queen and her court at the Queen’s Tea, with free refreshments for every liege attendee. (Details and Directions)

Texas Jazz Festival 10.21–10.23
All ears will be on the future at the world’s longest-running free jazz fest: Twenty-three musicians, ages six to thirteen, will show off their chops in Sonny LaRosa’s America’s Youngest Jazz Band. Other (adult) acts include Tom Braxton, Adeline Cuesta, and local groups Latin Talk and Ritmo Caribe. (Details and Directions)

Texas Rasquache Art Festival 10.29
Defiance in the face of adversity, creativity in the midst of hardship: El Paso celebrates the essence of rasquache, a term for the artistic expression of society’s underdogs, with film screenings, a parade of mojigangas (giant dancing puppets), and Día de los Muertos altar displays. (Details and Directions)

Coming Attractions

The month in letters.

The Books Stop Here

If your book club feels more like happy hour these days, corral your fellow gossipers and renew your literary vows at the TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL. The October 28–30 bash turns ten this year and will have a decidedly political slant, with former president Bill Clinton present (he’ll surely mention his autobiography, My Life) and the authors of several substantial historical tomes—David McCullough (1776), Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln), H. W. Brands (Andrew Jackson: A Life and Times), Garry Wills (Henry Adams and the Making of America)—on hand for readings and panel discussions. Of course, with more than 150 acclaimed wordsmiths around, from Salman Rushdie to Lemony Snicket, the weekend’s conversations should be satisfyingly diverse. (Details and Directions)Jordan Breal

Follow The Script: Other Writing Celebrations To Visit

Ana Castillo, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, and Deborah Santana (Carlos’s better half) are a few of the fifty authors presenting their work at this expo of all things literary. October 1 and 2. (Details and Directions)


Experience the thrill of the hunt in Fort Worth as you peruse this assemblage of first editions, rare books, vintage postcards, and old Civil War papers. October 15 and 16. (Details and Directions)


The industry’s top talents and devoted hopefuls turn out for this screenwriting-minded film extravaganza. This year’s draws include Harold Ramis, James L. White, Terry George, and Paul Rusesabagina (whose experiences inspired the poignant Hotel Rwanda). October 20–27. (Details and Directions)


More than 35 authors and guest speakers, including architect Daniel Libeskind, author Judith Viorst, and Senator Barbara Boxer, of California, will convene in Houston to broach everything from modern politics to music. October 30–November 13. (Details and Directions) Jordan Breal


John Ashbery, the famously daring poet known for his free- flowing syntax and meditative tone, is a more than appropriate muse for “ASHBERYANA,” a new chamber piece composed by Charles Wuorinen and presented by Da Camera of Houston on October 11. Inspired by three poems from Ashbery’s collection Wakefulness, the work will be performed by the Brentano String Quartet, baritone Leon William, trombonist James Pugh, and pianist Sarah Rothenberg. Other poetry-based compositions that same evening will include Tania León’s “Love After Love” (poem by Derek Walcott) and Wayne Peterson’s “Tympan Alley” (poem by Les Murray). (Details and Directions) J.B.

» Egghead Heaven: Lectures and Readings to Scratch your Intellectual Itch.

dt>Gemini Ink’s Autograph Series: Mary Gordon
A public reading, Q&A session, and luncheon with the author of The Company of Women, The Shadow Man, and Pearl. October 6 and 7. Reading and Q&A at San Pedro Playhouse, 800 W. Ashby, San Antonio; 210-734-9673.

dt>University Distinguished Lecture Series: Samuel P. Huntington

The controversial Harvard professor is back, this time with “American National Identity: Changes and Challenges in the 21st Century.” October 10. Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, 1002 George Bush Drive West. Texas A&M University, College Station; 979-845-4016.

dt>Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series: David McCullough

The Pulitzer prize–winning historian and author of 1776 speaks. October 11. McFarlin Auditorium, 6425 Boaz Lane. Southern Methodist University, Dallas; 214-768-8283.

dt>Inprint Brown Reading Series: Louise Erdrich

dd>The best-selling novelist on her newest North Dakota tale, The Painted Drum. October 17. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue, Houston; 713-521-2026.

dt>Rice Campbell Lecture Series: Robert Pinsky

dd>The former U.S. poet laureate will touch on the work of Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Robert Frost, and others in “The American Town: Dreams and Nightmares.” October 18–20. Call for locations. Rice University, Houston; 713-348-4998.

dt>Nuestra Palabra Reading Series: Gloria Estefan

dd>A treat for the kids: The queen of Latin pop hits the literary circuit with her bilingual children’s book, The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog. October 20. Barnes & Noble at 7626 Westheimer Road, Houston; 713-867-8943.