Beyoncé is the 21st century Madonna—a triple-threat talent with boundless creativity, the will to push the envelope, and one-name recognition. On April 23, she surprised her fans with the HBO special Lemonade, featuring new songs set to music videos, or a “visual album.” The overarching theme is the empowerment of black women, with appearances from superstars like tennis player Serena Williams and actress Quvenzhané Wallis, among other celebrities, plus grieving mothers like Gwen Carr (Eric Garner), Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin) and Lesley McSpadden (Michael Brown). But what got everyone talking was Beyoncé’s implication in the album’s narrative that her husband, the rapper Jay Z, had cheated on her. In the song “Sorry,” Beyoncé references a mysterious Becky as a potential mistress, causing Twitter to go bonkers with speculation over the real identity of Becky. Beyoncé, like Madonna, knows how to keep it interesting. Her recently launched Formation Tour should be no exception. As the title implies, there will be dancers locked in step with one another, ready to attack. The only problem is that the show is sold out, along with the show two nights later in Arlington. But tickets can still be had on Craigslist. Just be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars, which is probably worth it to say you saw Beyoncé in her prime.
NRG Stadium, May 7, 7:30 p.m., beyonce.com
It might be hard to find another state that represents the accordion as well as Texas. The Lone Star State combines the conjunto sounds of Flaco Jimenez, Esteban Jordan, and Eva Ybarra, out of San Antonio, with the zydeco sounds of Clifton Chenier and son CJ, out of Port Arthur (via Lafayette, Louisiana), and the polka sounds of lesser known European immigrants who settled the area. Since the accordion isn’t exactly sexy to a grade school student deciding which instrument to play, those who do know how to play it typically acquired their know-how through family members who also play. This next generation will be on display Saturday for the Big Squeeze 10th Anniversary Extravaganza Concert hosted by Texas Folklife, a non-profit devoted to the arts and culture of the state. The free event, held on the pavilion in front of the Texas State History Museum, is the culmination of a statewide competition to find the best youth accordion players in the categories of conjunto, Cajun/zydeco, and polka. Also on the ticket are past Big Squeeze winners, professional bands operating in the genres of competition, and special guests. Thanks to the reintroduction of Texas Folklife’s Apprenticeships in the Folk & Traditional Arts program, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, mentorships of upstart accordionists ensure this Texas tradition has a bright future.
Bullock Texas State History Museum, May 7, 1 p.m., texasfolklife.org
Of all the major cities in Texas, Fort Worth is the most underrated. It may not be the biggest but it’s packed with variety: the cowboy life lives on in the Stockyards, the collection of three major museums is first class, Texas Christian University has become a great school with a great football team, and the downtown is clean, entertaining, and pedestrian-friendly. Now that you’re ready to move there, it’s time to consider the real estate market. Start at the top with the 34th annual Fairmount Homes Tour this weekend, a walkable affair featuring mostly bungalow and foursquare homes from the late 1800s through the early 1920s. At your leisure, drop in and let volunteer docents lead you through eight homes and one bonus property in the historic Fairmont neighborhood, located in South-Central Fort Worth, near the zoo, the university, and the massive, new mixed-use development on South main Street. Two of the houses are works-in-progress, or illustrations in renovations, and one—the bonus property—is an event space fashioned out of the old office for Dalworth Funeral Service. The two-day tour commences with a parade and winds down on Saturday with a wine social.
Various locations, May 7-8, 12 p.m., historicfairmount.com
A slumping oil business in Midland might have people there bummed out. Good thing the Crude Fest, a music festival entering its seventh year, is here to spread good vibes. A weekend of pure country—none of that shiny Nashville blah blah blah, but instead genuine Texas and Oklahoma Red Dirt music—is a bona fide anecdote for any downer. The lineup is so robust—three days of six or seven bands with headliners including Turnpike Troubadours and Texans Josh Abbott and Aaron Watson—that Midland might become temporary tourist destination. That could mean hotels will fill up. Perhaps consider camping onsite as an alternative.
5209 South County Road 1270, May 12-14, thecrudefest.com
At the Yaga’s 20th Wild Game BBQ Cook-off, pitmasters of varying skill levels can break free from the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and pork ribs with competition categories including seafood and wild game. Since its inception in 1997, the cook-off has raised more than $1 million for Galveston area children, fueled by vendor sales, a silent auction, and Run Wild 5k designed burning off all that fatty meat.
Pier 21, May 13-14, ycfund.org
In the chamber opera After the Storm, a Galveston woman wrestles with letting, or refusing to allow, history to repeat itself as she faces off against Hurricane Ike, equipped with memories of her family’s experience a century earlier during the Great Storm of 1900. There are only two shows: Friday in Houston and Sunday in Galveston.
Wortham Theater Center, May 13, 7 p.m. & The Grand 1894 Opera House, May 15, 7 p.m., houstongrandopera.org