Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from the Lone Star Jam in Austin and the Houston Art Car Parade to a Phil Collins book-signing and traditional Mexican music for Cinco de Mayo. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
Down, Set, Hut
Brad Leland, who played Buddy Garrity, the conniving booster on TV’s Friday Night Lights, was a member of the 1971 state champion Plano Wildcats football team that defeated Gregory-Portland. “We won by one point against Marty Akins, the stud quarterback and kicker who went to UT,” Leland said. “I’ll be danged if he didn’t miss the winning field goal. I remember Darrell Royal ran out on the field and picked him up.” Leland, a graduate of Texas Tech University who will film a movie this summer with the Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin, understands the agony and ecstasy of high school football in Texas. This makes him the perfect choice to read T.C. Boyle’s story “56-0” as part of the “Friday Night Lights”-themed session of the Texas Bound reading series, which will also include Kyle Chandler, the show’s fiery coach. Boyle’s dark, visceral tale is about an underdog football team that continues to fight despite being banged up and physically inferior to its opponents, just like the East Dillon Lions. “At the end,” Leland said, “it’s like, so that’s what it’s like to not give up.”
Dallas Museum of Art, May 7, 7:30 p.m., dallasmuseumofart.org
The Good Fight
Phil Collins, the mega-star musician, owns what is considered the largest private collection of artifacts from the Texas Revolution. They are on display in his home in Switzerland. But since it is unlikely you will be invited there, Collins’s book-signing for The Alamo and Beyond, his new coffee-table book documenting these two hundred items, is the next best way to experience the retired drummer’s affinity for all things Alamo. Collins is famously obsessed with the battle, and has even made remarks suggesting he believes he participated in it in another life. He described playing with toy soldiers as a child to John Spong, a TEXAS MONTHLY writer: “After the battle, I’d set fire to the Texans, which is what they did here. Now, I did not know that is what happened. It wasn’t in any of the films I’d seen. The more I think of that, the stranger it is, and the more it ties in with the idea that I may have been here.” Collins has since shied away from his own curious involvement, but his devotion to the symbol of men standing up and fighting for what they believe in is unwavering.
Torch Energy Advisors, May 9, 5:30 p.m., tshaonline.org
The Civil Cinco
Cinco de Mayo is commonly mistaken as the celebration of Mexico’s independence, but it is actually the date to commemorate Mexico’s refusal to pay off its debt to France in the 1860s, as underscored by the Mexican Army sending the invading French troops back to where they came from. It’s a blip of a holiday in Mexico, but the United States has co-opted it for an excuse to drink margaritas. The Grand 1894 Opera House is not debasing itself by partaking in such flip traditions; the performing arts center’s Cinco de Mayo celebration will tone it down with an evening of exemplary traditional Mexican music. Listen for Jose Hernandez’s Mariachi Sol de Mexico—a collaborator with Willie Nelson, Selena and the Beach Boys—to set a tone for Vikki Carr, the El Paso-born singer heralded by Frank Sinatra and a score of recent American presidents, to inhabit.
The Grand 1894 Opera House, May 5, 8 p.m., thegrand.com
Rock of Love
Tragedy struck Micky and the Motorcars, the Austin country-rock band, when Mark McCoy, a former member, died last week after a rafting accident. The group—among them two brothers, Micky and Gary Braun, who play with their other brothers, Willy and Cody, in a separate band, Reckless Kelly—canceled some shows. So expect them to exorcise demons when they get back into the groove at the Lone Star Jam. Their playing will be infectious, and will reverberate through a lineup of Oklahoma-based Red Dirt and “Texas music” bands including the Randy Rogers Band, Stoney LaRue and Charlie Robison. For one day only, the differences between these cross-state rivals will be forgotten in favor of something bigger.
University of Texas, May 5, 12 p.m., lonestarjam.com
The Formidable Sissy
The Quitman native Sissy Spacek will undoubtedly field a question about being covered in blood in Carrie when she reminisces on the occasion of her new book, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, but who will think to ask her about her role in Terrence Malick’s masterpiece, Badlands?
Highland Park United Methodist Church, May 7, 6 p.m., hpumc.org
People are increasingly less self-conscious about owning an old paid-off beater, especially since there are now so many inspirations for sprucing up such rides, as the Houston Art Car Parade will show in its 25th year.
Various locations, May 10-12, various times, thehoustonartcarparade.com