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.
[NOV 26–DEC 2]
Stereotyping for Dummies
Comedian Jeff Dunham doesn’t have much nice to say, so he doesn’t say much at all. Instead, the ventriloquist speaks through his collection of dummies, including anti-stereotypes like an inept suicide bomber named Achmed the Dead Terrorist and a border-hopping “legal” alien named Jose Jalapeno on a Stick.
The Dallas native has brought his shtick to stage for his “Identity Crisis” tour, which makes a homecoming stop on Sunday. It draws from his popular self-titled Comedy Central show, his best-selling memoir All By My Selves, and his three concert DVDs, which have sold a combined five million copies.
Even if you’re offended by his social critiques, you’ll probably appreciate his honesty. And if not, well, this is the perfect opportunity to trade barbs with one of his dummies—he restores antique ones and crafts his own—as Dunham is apt to allow them to interact with the audience.
American Airlines Center, Nov 28, 5 p.m.
What You Call Corn . . .
It’s been 45 minutes since you entered the seven-acre labyrinth on the Graff Family Farm. Your excitement has waned. A fleeting vision of the climactic chase scene from The Shining rattles your concentration when some children of the corn appear ahead. You follow at a distance, cautiously. At the last turn they disappear, just as you find yourself at the finish line of the Ninth annual South Texas Maize.
It’s not meant to be that ominous; in fact, it’s a family friendly affair, complete with weenie roasts and hayrides. But you never know what tricks your mind will play on you when you’re lost.
Test your mettle in this year’s maze, designed to look (from an aerial view) like country musician George Strait, who was raised in nearby Pearsall. It took a week to create, and on average it has taken 35,000 guests an hour to navigate.
Graff Family Farm, Nov 26–28, various times.
Bullied No More
The “It Gets Better” Film Festival will project the spirit of thirteen-year-old Asher Brown, a Cypress resident who committed suicide in September to escape schoolyard bullying. Weeks after the tragedy, Cressandra Thibodeaux, a Houston artist, was struck by videos from the “It Gets Better” Project, a YouTube campaign supporting tormented youth of alternative sexual orientations.
Thibodeaux, who runs 14 Pews, a 98-seat microcinema in a former church, put together a program of seven movies about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activism, including the world premiere of “The Wedding Matters” series.
Part of the festival’s proceeds will fund a $500 It Gets Better Award, which was established by Thibodeaux to recognize an exceptional lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender teenager in the Houston Independent School District who excels in one of seven areas: the arts, sports, academics, social activism, leadership, mentorship, or entrepreneurship.
14 Pews, Nov 26–28, various times.
AP Photo/Eric Gay
Neither the rending of marital bonds (Tony Parker) nor the shaving of trademark golden locks (Dirk Nowitzki) have distracted the Spurs and Mavericks from getting off to their usual hot starts this NBA season. You could say their first match-up of the season means nothing, but, then, you would have a short memory: The Interstate 35 foes have duked it out in the playoffs four of the last eight years.
The Mavericks are seeking revenge for a first-round loss to the Spurs last season, so expect a cutthroat atmosphere for this latest battle, which will feature five potential future Hall of Famers: Nowitzki and Jason Kidd for the Mavs and Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili for the Spurs. It will be a clinic in the finer points of basketball—and rivalry.
AT&T Center, Nov 26, 7:30 p.m.
Lots of Legos
Not even your most mathematical-minded childhood friend could have imagined the trippy life-size works in Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick, the first major museum exhibition of Lego sculptures.
South Texas Institute of the Arts, Nov 26–28.
Photo of Hohner harmonica by Anthony Maddaloni
Just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about Bob Dylan, along comes Thomas Palaima, a University of Texas professor whose lecture “Harmonica Bob,” will explore how the singer used his instrument when words failed.
Harry Ransom Center, Dec 1.
• • • • •
Six more gotta-see, gotta-do events that you can’t afford to miss.
By Melanie Gasmen
Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade
Have fun with the whole family during this downtown procession filled with massive floats, vintage cars, and kid-friendly characters. Santa’s helpers will be on the sidelines to pick up toys benefiting Operation Blue Santa, which provides gifts for families who may not be able to afford them.
Parade starts at the State Capitol, 11th & Congress; Nov 27, 11 a.m.
Home for the Holidays
Get into the spirit of things as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performs holiday favorites and the Dorothy Shaw Bell Choir sings traditional carols. Word has it that Santa is set to make an appearance.
Bass Performance Hall, Nov 26–28, various times.
Green Revival Show House Tour
The 1890 Greek Revival–style cottage shows environmental-savvy homeowners how to restore a house using the utmost sustainability. The tour wraps up this weekend, so don’t miss out.
Green Revival Show House, Nov 27 & 28, noon–4.
Join Clara and her magical toy on an enchanting journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Amid the captivating choreography, Ben Stevenson’s production also features special effects, including a Christmas tree that “grows” forty feet and two hundred pounds of falling “snow.”
Brown Theater, Nov 26–Dec 26, various times.
2010 Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony
Bell choirs, Latin ensembles, celebrities, and more will be floating down the Paseo Del Rio on 25 decorated barges. If that isn’t enough to spark the holiday spirit, stick around for the lighting of 122,000 twinkle lights.
River Walk, Nov 26, 7 p.m
The Peddler Show
Buy all your gifts in one spot and then call it a day. For 33 years this marketplace has been a gold mine for the absolute best holiday presents, from gourmet cuisine to one-of-a-kind jewelry. Catch the event’s free sneak peek on Friday from noon–1 p.m.
Gillespie County Fairgrounds, Nov 26–28, various times.