It’s just a matter of time before the front man of a wildly successful band wants to go it alone—at least for an album or two, you know, just to scratch that itch. What’s unique about Billy Gibbons, who has taken a temporary hiatus from ZZ Top to release his debut solo album, Perfectamundo, is that he waited until he was 65 years old to do it. When asked how he would characterize the album—if he had to describe it to his mom—Gibbons said, “Remember when Dad sent me to New York to learn Latin percussion and rhythm from Tito Puente back when I was thirteen? Well, that experience was not forgotten and now it’s on record. Somebody referred to it as ‘Hispanic-bionic boogie’ and I know you’d like it, ’cause it’s mambo-delic.” The Cuban flair is definitely there, with timbales, congas, maracas, and bongos propelling the rock and roll forward. Next Thursday Gibbons will perform a hometown Houston show, followed by gigs in Austin and Lubbock on subsequent nights. But instead of the rest of ZZ Top he’ll play with the BFG’s, his band on the album. “With Perfectamundo, we put the rhythm up front to move the backside,” Gibbons said. “For ZZ Top, with Dusty and Frank aboard, the rhythm’s on the backside, which moves the front side.” Either way, Gibbons’s electric guitar is front and center.
Cullen Performance Hall, December 3, 8 p.m., billygibbons.com
Trailing Lewis and Clark
The most drama to come out of a Costco is likely when customers notice that a sale price is mislabeled. But now the playwright Samuel D. Hunter, a MacArthur Genius Grant winner from New York via Moscow, Idaho, has taken a deeper look into the psyche of big-box stores and reimagined the American Dream against the backdrop of Costco in his new play Clarkston, making its debut at the AT&T Performing Arts Center as a Dallas Theater Center production. The way Hunter explained it in a promotional video, the play is actually two plays in one—Lewiston and Clarkston, if you will. Together, they’re a loose meditation on what Hunter called “the modern day legacy of Lewis and Clark.” As such, this is a journey of discovery, but one of the self, in which a descendant of William Clark—of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame—and an aspiring writer struggle to make sense of their lives so that their futures are better informed.
AT&T Performing Arts Center, December 3 to January 31, 2016, dallastheatercenter.org
Christmas Songs and Collages of Kong
Bob Schneider is arguably Austin’s resident Renaissance man. He’s primarily a musician, with more than a dozen albums and a Monday residency at the Saxon Pub. But he has also written a book of poetry, I Have Seen the End of the World and It Looks Like This, and he is a prolific visual artist as well, whose new collages will be on display as part of his Saturday show at Bass Concert Hall, performed with his Moonlight Orchestra, the Tosca String Quartet, and Latin pop singer Gina Chavez. The annual gig is a holiday revue, with both Christmas songs and originals. Of the latter, expect tunes like “Han Solo” from Schneider’s King Kong suite, a trio of limited edition EPs released earlier this year, whose cover art comes from the collages in the exhibit. Schneider’s work is available for viewing on the fifth floor of the concert hall Monday through Friday, from now through December 15. He also has a show, titled “Heroes,” taking place concurrently at Yard Dog Art Gallery.
Bass Concert Hall, November 28, 8 p.m., bobschneider.com
God Bless Us, Every One
It could be that watching one of the many TV versions of A Christmas Story, based on Charles Dickens’s tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation from a misanthrope to a humanitarian, makes the holiday season feel complete. That bygone world of Victorian-era England might seem beyond reach but the living-history event “Dickens on Main,” occurring in the Hill Country town of Boerne, has been recreating it for going on sixteen years now. The throwback affair is only a fraction of what “Dickens on the Strand” is, Galveston’s four-decades-old master celebration, but because it happens on Thanksgiving weekend it allows people to get into the spirit a little earlier. This family-friendly experience offers a Dickens Village, period costumes, and the play Bah Humbug: A One Man Christmas Carol. There will also be live ice-sculpting performances and the promise of snow.
Downtown, November 27–28, 1 p.m., dickensonmain.com
Across the Pond
“Giverny: Journal of an Unseen Garden,” the video installation on display through this Saturday by New York artist Mark Fox, delves beneath the surface of Claude Monet’s brilliance by capturing underwater footage of the water lily pond Monet famously painted and transmitting it on a fifteen-minute loop to create an altogether new kind of impressionism.
Hiram Butler Gallery, November 27–28, hirambutler.com
Baylor has to win against TCU on Friday to keep its playoff hopes alive, but the team is facing the loss of both its first- and second-string quarterbacks, whereas TCU’s first-string quarterback will likely be back on the field after sitting out because of an ankle injury. This is convenient because it just so happens that TCU has to win against Baylor to keep alive its hopes of being regarded as the best Texas team this season.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, November 27, 6:30 p.m., gofrogs.com