Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from celebrating the buffalo in Quitaque to watching Cantiflas films in San Antonio. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[September 14–September 16]
Once there were millions of bison roaming North America. But they were slaughtered in startlingly large numbers during the 19th century in part for meat, in part for their hides (which were used as leather belts in industrial machines) and in part because eradicating the animal was a strategy to eliminate the Native Americans. The population dwindled to less than 500 by the late 1800s, prompting Mary Ann Goodnight and her husband, the Texas rancher Charles Goodnight, to take action. “He went out and roped a couple calves and that was the origin of this herd,” said Donald Beard, the superintendent of Caprock Canyons State Park. Goodnight’s herd—one of five foundation herds that saved the American bison from extinction—lives on today with 95 descendants roaming 1,000 acres of the park. The animals will be on display at Bison Celebration Days, a weekend benefit topped off with a concert by Asleep at the Wheel. Drive into the park and you are immediately in the bison range. “This morning, they were in the parking lot of the headquarters,” Beard said. But be cautious: a 2,000-pound male “can outrun a thoroughbred horse and spin on a dime.”
Caprock Canyons State Park, September 15-16, 8 a.m., tpwd.state.tx.us
Let Freedom Ring
Freedom is something to shout about. Shred your vocal cords at “El Grito,” the Mexican Independence Day ceremony that celebrates “Grito de Dolores,” or the cry by Mexican priest Miguel Hidalgo that sparked the revolution against the Spanish colonial government in 1810. You can really let loose during the closing refrain of “Viva Mexico.” “By the third ‘Viva Mexico,’ everyone is screaming and cheering and waving flags,” said María Esther Paredes of the Consulate General of Mexico, co-organizer of the event. Reciting this rallying cry honors the courage of the oppressed who gathered in Hidalgo’s church in the wee hours of September 15 and decided to fight for their liberty. Unlike most grito ceremonies, which start around midnight, this one takes place early in the evening and is followed with performances by mariachi, folk dancers and La Mafia, the Grammy-winning Houston Tejano band. “It’s a time to come together with friends and family,” Paredes said. “It’s one of those days where when you hear those words, you feel pride in being a Mexican.”
Miller Outdoor Theatre, September 15, 8 p.m., milleroutdoortheatre.com
True to Life
Shawn Colvin, the Austin folk-pop singer, has had success with the bait-and-switch. Her glistening looks and the cheery melodies she plays in songs like “Sunny Came Home,” for which she won a Grammy in 1998, attract you to what turns out to be a canon of edgy and unabashed verse influenced by a tumultuous life rife with addiction and depression, as chronicled in her new memoir, Diamond in the Rough. For Colvin’s new album, All Fall Down, the product of jam sessions with Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, and Jakob Dylan, she reunited with the producer Buddy Miller, who first discovered her more than thirty years ago. Colvin will perform two sets at One World Theatre in support of the album, allowing diehard fans four potential hours under her spell.
One World Theatre, September 14, 7 and 9:30 p.m., shawncolvin.com
Last month a capital campaign was announced to raise money to complete the restoration of San Antonio’s historic Alameda Theater. Mayor Julián Castro spoke about the venue, invoking childhood memories of seeing Mario Moreno, the “everyman” Mexican film star known as Cantinflas, perform there in the 1950s and ’60s. Moreno’s influence on San Antonio’s Latino population is part of the reason San Antonio is the first American city to host “Cantinflas Retro: A Mario Moreno Retrospective,” the exhibit that debuted in Mexico City last year in commemoration of the performer’s centennial birthday. See posters for Moreno’s movies at the San Antonio Public Library, before watching the films that inspired Castro’s blend of humor and humanity.
Various locations, September 15-October 15, various times, cantinflasretro.com
The shooter who hits the most bullseyes at Schützenfest not only earns the title of könig, or “king,” for a year, but also a slew of new friends, who will gather to drink from the keg of beer served, and dance to the live music performed, all in the king’s honor.
Round Top Rifle Hall, September 16, 9 a.m., roundtoprifle.com
Solve a mystery at the benefit screening of Apocalypse, the new tour documentary that captures Bill Callahan, the enigmatic singer-songwriter who is famously averse to the media, and then watch him perform a rare hometown show.
The Paramount Theatre, September 14, 8 p.m., austintheatre.org