Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from a Lavender Festival in Gainesville and Jimmie Vaughan in Austin to a South Texas museum exhibit and a Wes Anderson film screening. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
Back at the Ranch
South Texas became the portal to the mythic west during Manifest Destiny. “It was the home of the American cowboy,” said Bruce Shackelford, the curator of the new South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum. “It’s where the cattle drives started. It changed the state and it changed America.” The center will explore this landscape, starting in the 1850s, with an emphasis on San Antonio as “the New York of Texas.” The Witte collaborated with one of the first families of Texas, the Klebergs, whose King Ranch in Kingsville is where modern ranching was born. The 20,000-square-foot Heritage Center building, a modern glass structure next to Pioneer Hall, is filled with artifacts and imagery that will demonstrate the diehard spirit of these pioneers, including the wagon used by Captain Richard King, who started King Ranch, when leg problems prohibited him from riding horses. “The Klebergs didn’t ask anybody to do anything that they couldn’t do themselves,” Shackelford said. The center’s grand opening festivities will challenge you to lasso and brand—to see if you have what it takes.
Witte Museum, May 26, 10 a.m., wittemuseum.org
In the mid-1970s, Clifford Antone, the founder of Antone’s, the legendary Austin night club that once was a blues hotspot, enlisted Jimmie Vaughan and his Fabulous Thunderbirds as the house band for touring legends like Muddy Waters and B.B. King. A lot has changed since then—Antone has died and Antone’s has moved—but Vaughan remains at the heart of the scene. Vaughan’s throwback style and jazzy guitar playing are a perpetually cool combination. His new album, Jimmie Vaughan Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites, is a sequel to the Grammy-nominated Jimmie Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites. Both sets showcase Vaughan’s mastery of tone and feature a number of playful duets with Lou Ann Barton, the singer who used to collaborate with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie’s younger brother. When Jimmie Vaughan and his Tilt-A-Whirl big band return to Antone’s, it will sound like music coming out of a vintage jukebox.
Antone’s, May 26, 8 p.m., antones.net
A Calming Influence
Lavender, a key ingredient in aromatherapy, is a remedy for life’s stresses. “Smelling lavender calms you down and helps you sleep,” said Jane Dane, co-owner of Lavender Ridge Farms, the host of the Lavender Festival. In 2004, Dane and her brother, Jerry Ware, transformed their family’s old strawberry and melon grove into a lavender field. “I read an article about a lavender farm in the Hill Country and thought, hey, that’s what I should be doing,” Dane said. She survived last year’s drought and produced 2,000 plants on 2 acres. Cut your own fresh bouquet at this “you-pick farm.” And do not leave without trying the Lemon Lavender Gooey Buttercake.
Lavender Ridge Farms, May 26-28, 9 a.m., lavenderridgefarms.com
Home Sweet Home
It’s surprising that the Homegrown Music and Arts Festival did not happen sooner. Now in its third year, the all-day concert in Dallas has evolved from a showcase of burgeoning local acts still playing for free beer to early- to mid-career exemplars from around the state, many already with the ear of a national audience. The organizers have assembled a diverse lineup, which is really just a testament to the riches of the state. There will be funk (Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears), country (Hayes Carll) and experimental (The Octopus Project). And there will, of course, be all sorts of rock ’n’ roll: classic (Centro-matic), contemporary (Girl in a Coma) and hard (Ume). In just one day, you can get up to speed on a lot of the best music Texas has to offer.
Main Street Garden Park, May 26, 10 a.m., homegrownfest.com
Milk & Honey
At the Harvey Milk Day Conference, people might channel the spirit of Milk, the first openly gay politician in California, and dedicate their lives to the continued pursuit of equality among all orientations.
ACC Eastview Campus, May 26-27, various times, getequaltx.org
Watching a film by the Texas director Wes Anderson requires being in the right frame of mind, so prepare for the release of his new movie, Moonrise Kingdom, with a screening of The Darjeeling Limited.
Sunset Station, May 31, 8:30 p.m., slabcinema.com