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.
[OCT 29–NOV 4]
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The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Plays the Score from Psycho
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, October 29 & 30, 8 PM
Bernard Herrmann once said that director Alfred Hitchcock “only finishes a picture 60 percent. I have to finish it for him.” It’s true; the composer’s scores are the tension wires that make the director’s, such as Vertigo and North by Northwest, go snap. For Psycho, Herrmann practically directed a movie within a movie—an aural depiction of a descent into madness that’s still riveting after 50 years. In a nod to Halloween, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will accompany two screenings of the horror classic with live performances of Herrmann’s slasher score. The DSO will be limited to strings only, as Herrmann reportedly was because of the production’s budgetary constraints. But consider the terror a 55-person strings section can induce with the piercing eee-eee-eee sound from the shower scene—even when the audience knows it’s coming. Herrmann’s score will play out note for note except for one divergence: The climactic scene in the cellar will feature Herrmann’s original cue, which Hitchcock replaced with a recurrence of the eee-eee-eees. “The original cue sounds a lot more frantic,” says guest conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos.
Houston Rockets Home Opener
Toyota Center, October 30, 7:30 PM
Few things in life are more certain than a Yao Ming injury. In recent years, the spindly 7’6” center from Shanghai has proven to be as fragile as the leg lamp in A Christmas Story. Yao sat out all of last season after breaking a bone in his injury-riddled, size-19 left foot. Some said his career was over. But after making it through eight preseason games, Yao is slated to play in the Rockets’ home opener against the Denver Nuggets. It’s really the only certain way to see him on the court — and for only half the game, as he’ll be limited to 24 minutes. But in that time you’ll see him do things that no other player can. Unlike most big men that tall, he has a sweet mid-range jumper and can actually bend his knees to play defense.
Screening of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, October 29, 30 & 31, various times
A rare filmed interview with Jean-Michel Basquiat forms the basis of this adoring documentary by his friend Tamra Davis. The graffiti artist turned Important American Painter learned self-marketing from Andy Warhol, so he probably would have relished in the buzz generated by the release of this twenty-five-year-old, never-before-seen footage on, of all things, what would have been his fiftieth birthday. Basquiat died at 27 from a heroin overdose in 1988, but in Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child he’s forever young, the crown prince of the ’80s New York art scene. Contrary to the wounded animal played by Jeffrey Wright in Julian Schnabel’s 1996 biopic, this Basquiat comes off as a deceptively self-important artist. The Radiant Child, which debuted at Sundance, has been in limited release since the summer, but it will screen multiple times this weekend at the Modern, which holds an untitled Basquiat oilstick on paper in its permanent collection.
Grammy-winning Mariachi Play Small-town High School
Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School, November 1 & 2, 7:30 PM
The circumstances surrounding Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano’s shows in this tiny Hill Country town, population 10,000 or so, ensure a remarkable two-night run of music. Not only will their performances at a high school auditorium take place on the day before and the day of Dia de los Muertos, they will also mark the band’s fiftieth year together. Los Camperos, winners of a 2009 Grammy Award, expand on the mariachi trio commonly found serenading couples at Tex-Mex restaurants with a nearly dozen-member ensemble. Their brass-, strings- and harmony-inflected sound includes dance-inducing boleros and patriotic rancheras. Presiding over this Los Angeles-based exemplar of the genre is Natividad “Nati” Cano, the 77-year-old mariachi credited with implementing group choreography and sombrero-topped charro uniforms.
Wurstfest, the annual German-style sausage-and-beer bacchanal, celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with a giant new historical mural, plus the usual yodeling and kartoffel puffers. Landa Park, October 29–November 7. wurstfest.com.
AUSTIN & DALLAS
Hosted by actor/author Wil Wheaton, “Mythbusters” co-creator Adam Savage, and comedy music duo Paul and Storm, w00tstock is a traveling “nerd vaudeville” show (music, jokes, funny lectures, short films) that once more confirms the decline of geeks as wedgie victims and their rise as culture arbiters. Paramount Theatre in Austin on November 2 and Granada Theater in Dallas on November 3. w00tstock.net.