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.
[Mar 4–Mar 10]



Big Independence
The number thirteen signifies bad luck, but Texans might beg to differ. After all, it was a thirteen-day siege at the Alamo that led to the massacre of Texan defenders by Mexican general Santa Anna, which while catastrophic nonetheless empowered remaining Texan forces to defeat Santa Anna a month and a half later at the Battle of San Jacinto, earning the state its independence. In the ultimate show of respect for the approximately 189 Texans and 600 Mexicans who were either killed or wounded at the Alamo, the San Antonio Living History Association will light thirteen candles in a predawn vigil this Sunday, as part of its “Remembering the Alamo” weekend. Because this is an equal-opportunity celebration of Texas’s 175th anniversary of freedom, there will be, in addition to battle reenactments, a program about the women of the Alamo, an inside look at Santa Anna’s council of war, and a reconciliation peace prayer in both English and Spanish.
Alamo Plaza, Mar 5 & 6, various times.


Swan Dive
The fiftieth anniversary of the Texas Ballet Theater, a Dallas–Fort Worth troupe, couldn’t have come at a better time: the Oscar-nominated film Black Swan has once again turned people on to the form (if for all the wrong reasons). “I think Black Swan hit on all the awful clichés of a ballet company,” said Ben Stevenson, artistic director for the theater. “I enjoyed the movie, but I thought it was a story about a crazy girl.” Stevenson, a native of England, is a former ballet dancer with a résumé as mesmerizing as a pirouette. For the Weekend of Dance, in Dallas, he has assembled a mixed repertoire program that encapsulates the past, present, and future of the theater. The past is represented by Theme and Variations, by George Balanchine, an important New York choreographer whose ballets were prominent in the company’s early years; the present is represented by Four Last Songs, Stevenson’s signature work; and the future is represented by Love Always Remains, a world premiere piece by Peter Zweifel, a dancer in the company. Kill three swans with one ticket.
AT&T Performing Arts Center, Mar 4 at 8 p.m. & Mar 6 at 2 p.m.


Rock & Rodeo
The Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition was founded in 1931. A name change in 1961 yielded the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. In 1966, the show moved from the Sam Houston Coliseum to the Astrodome, shattering previous attendance records. A state-of-the-art stage was introduced in 1986, as part of the Texas Sesquicentennial festivities, to accommodate musical performances, which are now as big a part of the rodeo as the actual rodeoing. And in 1996, there was another name change—this time to Rodeo Houston. Notice the trend here? Big things happen at the rodeo on anniversaries divisible by five. That makes this year’s eightieth annual rodeo—with a new home in Reliant Park, with mega musical acts including Kid Rock and Kiss, and with the Texas Terquasquicentennial upon us—poised to be great, if not the best ever.
Reliant Park, Mar 4–10, various times.


Photograph by Jody Horton

Piggin’ Out
Texas has a real problem with feral hogs. Russian boars and escaped domestic pigs are running rampant, destroying crops and golf courses alike. That’s not the reason for the creation of Hog School, a three-day immersion into hunting, cleaning, cooking, and apportioning a whole hog for future use—even though it is a means to an end. “We teach cooking classes, and we love to hunt and fish, so why not teach students about responsible hunting and the full use of their harvested animals?” said Jesse Griffiths, co-proprietor of Dai Due, an Austin-based culinary outfit that sells its own eats, hosts supper clubs, and offers similar workshops (Hog School is modeled after Deer School). Included in the $1,350 fee is lodging at Madroño Ranch, in the Hill Country, plus meals prepared by a Dai Due chef and—hopefully—enough game to take home for future use. You’ll be the envy of the next dinner party when you break out your own prosciutto.
Madroño Ranch, Mar 4–6, various times.


Word of Mouth
In a world of e-mails, texts, and Kindles, it’s nice to know there is still the Texas Storytelling Festival, where for 26 years stories tall and short continue to be dispatched via the ancient mode of oral communication.
Denton Civic Center, Mar 10, various times.


Remembrance of Media Past
The South by Southwest Festival’s long strange trip to 25 years can get lost amid all the partying, so to acknowledge the achievement there is 5X5Y, an exhibit of fest ephemera, with a panel discussion involving fest forefathers Louis Black and Roland Swenson.
Austin History Center, Mar 5–10, various times.

• • • • •

Six more gotta-see, gotta-do events that you can’t afford to miss.
By Annie Samuelson


Zilker Park Kite Festival
Go fly a kite, up to the highest height! Go fly a kite, send it soaring!
Zilker Park, Mar 6, 10 a.m.


North Texas Irish Festival
Let the luck of the Irish wear off on you. Erin go bragh!
Fair Park, Mar 4–6, various times.


Monster Jam
Zoom, smash, crash! This family-friendly event will get your wheels spinning.
Sun Bowl Stadium, Mar 5 at 7 p.m. & Mar 6 at 2 p.m.


Tobe Hoopers Eggshells
This long-lost classic has been restored and is being shown for the first time in forty years. Presented by the Texas Independent Film Network Series. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Mar 3, 7 p.m.


St. Vincents Clinic Benefit Concert
Be serenaded by UTMB staff and students. All proceeds go to St. Vincent’s, UTMB’s free clinic.
The Grand 1894 Opera House, Mar 11, 9:45 p.m.


Texas Independence Day Celebration
This lone star celebration with country concerts and a chili cook-off claims to be: “A hometown festival with something for everyone!”
Heritage Place Amphitheater, Mar 5 at 11 a.m. & Mar 6 at noon.