Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from Kelly Clarkson in San Antonio to disco dancing in Houston. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[Feb 3–Feb 9]



Idol Worship
The rivalry between Oklahomans and Texans remains intense, even off the football field. Kelly Clarkson scores one for Texas with her reclamation of ultimate “American Idol” status, which she had temporarily lost to her north-of-the-border counterpart Carrie Underwood. Clarkson’s winning campaign started this year with an endorsement of Ron Paul, a fellow Texan—though controversial, it generated lots of buzz for her new album, Stronger. It continued with an appearance on Saturday Night Live and news that she would join the reality TV show The Voice as a singing mentor and perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl. And Clarkson has done it all without abandoning her roots. She still lives in the Burleson area, on a ranch near her family, where she tends to more than fifty rescue animals, including dogs, horses, and two pigs named Miss Daisy and Boss Hogg. If this Texas-Oklahoma competition means anything to you, then make sure Clarkson stays on top by going out to see her when she returns.
Majestic Theatre, February 6, 7 p.m.


One From the Vaults
A number of fine works of art were languishing in the vaults of museums across Texas until Patrick Kelly came to the rescue. Kelly, the curator at the Old Jail Art Center, put a call out to 25 institutions across the state for pieces that hadn’t spent time on the showroom floor, whether because of their subpar condition, their incompatibility with the rest of the collection, or political inconveniences. “This was not a pull-out-your-dregs kind of thing,” Kelly said. “I wanted them to find works they really love but just didn’t pull out.” Thirteen museums agreed to work with Kelly and submitted pieces for his exhibition, “The Reclusive Image: Works from Texas Museums.” The Sid Richardson Museum loaned a Charles Russell painting—because the museum had the good problem of having too many Russells, Kelly said—of an American Indian sitting around a campfire, smoking a pipe. And the Art Museum of Southeast Texas contributed a giant steel box filled with hard candy, meant to symbolize the sweets American soldiers dispensed to children in occupied zones. “When you walk in,” Kelly said, “there is kind of an overwhelming sugar smell.
The Old Jail Art Center, February 4-May 20, various times.


Disco-Dancing for Dollars
It is unfortunate that disco music is usually only played at weddings, where a monkey suit can inhibit your funky chicken. But at An Evening with Disco Legends, where the cheapest ticket is $500, you are entitled to wear whatever you want to facilitate your dance moves. The all-star cast of musicians includes the Pointer Sisters, the Oakland group that got its start in Texas; Nile Rodgers, the musician and producer whose song “Le Freak” was a Studio 54 staple; and Gloria Gaynor, whose song “I Will Survive” will take on new meaning on this night benefiting the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Last year’s fundraiser, featuring Robert Duvall rhapsodizing about “Lonesome Dove,” raised an unprecedented $9.1 million. Wouldn’t it be something to say that you were part of the night that beat that number?
George R. Brown Convention Center, Feb. 4, 7 p.m.


Food Fight
A lot has happened in the foodie world in the two months since Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert, diametrically opposed chefs of the highest order, last convened for “Good vs. Evil,” their tour of culinary discourse. Paula Deen, a spokeswoman for a diabetes drugmaker, admitted to having diabetes; Jamie Oliver turned America on to the “pink slime” in McDonald’s burgers; and Top Chef commenced its stereotype of Texas. Ripert, the civil Frenchman, will temper the F-bombs of Bourdain, the New Yorker, as they bandy these topics at the Paramount Theatre. It will be relatively equal measures comedy, education and spontaneity. They say the best parts of these events are the Q. and A. sessions, but fans know it’s hooking up with the subjects as they exit the theater, and taking them on a private culinary tour of your city.
The Paramount Theatre, Feb. 8, 8 p.m.


The Joke’s on Whom?
Kinky Friedman
’s political ambitions have waned, but he is always in pursuit of a good one-liner, and now that Rick Perry has strategically retreated, he should have plenty of new ones to share on his Southern Discomfort Tour.
Dosey Doe, February 8, 8 p.m.


The Other Carnival
Brazil will probably never make it onto an itinerary that doesn’t come to you in your dreams, so if you’ve ever fantasized of going to Carnaval, the South American Mardi Gras, your next best bet is Carnaval Brasileiro.
Palmer Events Center, February 4, 9 p.m.