Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from the honoring the death of rock legend Buddy Holly to Mardi Gras in Galveston and Fredericksburg. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[February 1–12]



Warred Out
Recent gun violence in the United States has distracted from the drug war in Mexico and on the border. But in “Crónicas,” the new exhibition at Foto Fest, seven photographers, filmmakers, and printmakers whose families deal with the violence on a daily basis take the eye back to this brutal landscape. “It’s an alternative to what the mass media is putting out there,” said Jennifer Ward, the show’s curator. “There was recently a story about twelve bodies being found in a car. And that’s all we heard about. There were no names to the bodies, no families, nothing behind it. With this show, we are adding some humanity to it.” Edgardo Aragón, from Oaxaca, has a series of thirteen short films called “Family Effects,” in which his young nephews and nieces reenact stories about his family’s real-life involvement with the drug cartel. Pedro Reyes, from Culiacán, will display shovels he shaped out of the melted metal in the 1,500 guns he collected through a “ buyback” program and uses for planting trees. (He will plant one in Guadalupe Plaza Park on March 23.) And Miguel Aragón, from Ciudad Juárez, has a piece called “Retrato #4,” a newspaper photo of a decapitated head that he treated to create a “ghostly, ashy” look. “You don’t turn away,” Ward said. “You look deeper into the photograph.”
FotoFest, February 1-March 9,


Hey, Buddy
The day Buddy Holly died in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson, from Sabine Pass) is, per Don Mclean’s song “American Pie,” the day the music died. But, really, it had the opposite effect. In response to the loss of these rock and roll pioneers on February 3, 1959, scores of teenagers picked up guitars. Countless events commemorate this date, including Winter Dance Party revivals that trace Holly and his musical cohorts’ fateful tour. But a pilgrimage to the Buddy Holly Center for its celebration, which consists of three exhibitions and a guitar workshop, will give you the deepest look into Holly’s legacy. Learn more about the musician who honed his craft alongside Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley and who, like Bob Dylan, once had a girlfriend named Echo—you can read about her in one of Holly’s childhood journals, which is on display.
Buddy Holly Center, February 3, 1 p.m.,


Ashes to Ashes
The pre-Lenten gorge is not unique to the Mardi Gras season. Cities all over the world celebrate Catholicism with similar Fat Tuesday decadence before Ash Wednesday temperance. Fasching Fredericksburg is the Hill Country’s take on the German version. You have three opportunities to lose your religion before finding it again. The first is at Fest Nacht, the BYOB, costumed rock and roll party. The next is the Fasching Ball, the masquerade recreating Berlin in the Roaring Twenties, complete with vodka fountain. And then there is the one everyone knows about, Fat Tuesday, with live zydeco music and a crawfish and shrimp boil.
Various locations, February 2 and 9 at 7 p.m. and February 12 at 4 p.m., 


The Sound of Saveur
A problem with the popular concept of pairing music with food to create a multi-sensory experience is that the music tends to be largely unfamiliar, like classical. A solution is L’oco D’oro, the new Austin supper club started by Fiore Tedesco III, the former musician who now works at Franklin Barbecue. For his first series of suppers, “Dinners to Rock to,” Tedesco is preparing four five-course meals paired with albums by the Pixies, Metallica, Fleetwood Mac, and the Stooges. Tedesco, though secretive about the menus, revealed that for opening night with the Pixies, the cuisine will be South and Central American fare with a Spanish twist, perhaps in reference to the time Black Francis, the Pixies’ frontman, spent in Puerto Rico and which comes through in his many Spanish lyrics. Tedesco also said there will be octopus.
Franklin Barbecue, February 3, 6:30 and 9 p.m.,


Shake It All About
Mardi Gras Galveston is arguably second only to Mardi Gras New Orleans, but where Galveston is number one is in its umbrella dance, the “second-line” dancing to the hokey pokey with raised umbrellas, and this year the city is trying to beat its Guinness record of 1,516 participants.
Downtown, February 1-12,


Body and Soul
Gone are most of the jazz and blues musicians who made famous the Eldorado Ballroom, the Third Ward black social club known for its dance-floor action during its mid-twentieth-century heyday, but you can see some of these performers in their sweaty glory at Soul Nite, with vintage film from shows by the likes of Ray Charles and Etta James.
Eldorado Ballroom, February 2, 7 p.m.,