Robert Wilson, the theater producer and mixed-media artist, has become a star collaborator for top-tier musicians trying to realize alternative visions. He has orchestrated projects for the likes of Philip Glass (a little thing called “Einstein on the Beach”), Tom Waits, and Lou Reed, and earlier this month he was in Paris, at the Louvre, to present Lady Gaga—in celebration of her new album, Artpop—as a living, breathing piece of art. In a series of video portraits, Lady Gaga depicts, among other historical images, the eighteenth-century painting “The Death of Marat.” Lady Gaga told BBC Radio 1 that working with Wilson was “like a séance.”
Wilson, 72, was born in Waco and graduated from the University of Texas before leaping to the forefront of Manhattan’s art scene in the seventies, eventually scooping up a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He will return to Texas for the final session of this year’s Nasher Salon speaker series, where he is bound to talk about his individual work too, including the new exhibition “Living Rooms,” also at the Louvre, which lets viewers into his bedroom.
Nasher Sculpture Center, December 2, 8 p.m., nashersculpturecenter.org
Kind of Blue
Growing up in the Dallas area, LeAnn Rimes parlayed an appearance on the television show Star Search into a debut album, Blue, which rose to the top of the country charts, earned a hit single with the Patsy-Cline-reminiscent title track and led to two Grammy Awards—all at the age of fourteen.
Now Rimes is 31 and a tabloid regular, perhaps one reason for poor sales of her recent autobiographical album, Spitfire, released in April. On the other hand, some critics—the writers at Rolling Stone magazine, for example—refuse to deny her vocal talent and regard the album as one of country music’s best this year.
It will be hard to argue that Rimes sounds anything other than angelic when she is backed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, for a round of originals and holiday songs.
Bass Performance Hall, December 5, 7:30 p.m., leannrimesworld.com
Raiding the Wardrobe
Armchair voters in the costume design category at the Academy Awards may be enamored of the outlandish outfits from fantasy epics, but most of the time it is the period pieces, with their subtle historical accuracy, that steal the show.
The British costume designer Jenny Beavan has won one Oscar (for A Room With a View) and has been nominated eight other times, for films including “The King’s Speech” and “Sense and Sensibility.” She will talk about her design aesthetic Thursday at the McNay Art Museum. Her lecture, “Storytelling With Clothes: Creating Characters,” is part of the museum’s “CUT! Costume and the Cinema” exhibition featuring some of Ms. Beavan’s costumes, plus others from movies including “Pirates of the Caribbean,” for a total of more than forty ensembles. Beavan will be able to expound on how much the clothes make the actor and vice versa.
McNay Art Museum, December 5, 6:30 p.m., mcnayart.org
The church gave Ruthie Foster the rhythm. (Her guitar teacher was her preacher.) So it makes sense that during this season of giving, Foster, the Grammy-nominated Texas blueswoman, will reciprocate. She returns to the church next Thursday—the First United Methodist, in Victoria—for “Conspirare Christmas,” an annual production hosted by Conspirare, the multiple-Grammy-nominated Austin choral ensemble.
This is the first in a three-city, seven-performance production, which is taking place as part of the Victoria Bach Festival and is one of only three shows that is not already sold out, which is a testament to Foster’s and Conspirare’s faith in the fusion of gospel and classical.
First United Methodist Church, December 5, 7:30 p.m., conspirare.org
Visions of Sugar Plums
“The Nutcracker” was the first production in the Houston Ballet’s repertory, perhaps because it is not only a welcome entry point into dance but because it is also punctuated by crowd-pleasing live special effects, like a Christmas tree that grows forty feet tall, 200 pounds of fake falling snow, and the firing of a cannon—plus, this year, three new ballerinas as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Houston Ballet Center for Dance, November 29-December 29, houstonballet.org
A Christmas Story, the 1983 movie about a boy who eyes an official Red Ryder carbon-action 200-shot range-model air rifle, may be on its way to becoming the unofficial movie of the season (it runs 24 hours straight on the cable channel TBS, beginning on Christmas Eve) and will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary as part of a double feature at the Paramount Theater, paired with It’s a Wonderful Life.
Paramount Theater, December 4, 7 p.m., austintheatre.org