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In a blink, it's officially rodeo season and also, March. Those heading to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo — hopefully rocking looks like these — can catch a host of concerts, over-the-top food, and another Takeover by our own hip-hop legend Bun B.

Meanwhile, a beloved local destination celebrates Texas independence, while they Alley stages a cowboy show that's not to be missed. Got moves? Show 'em off at a dance contest, or get decked out with your adorable pets at the arboretum. Feeling artsy? Head to the MFAH or take in some Sunday jazz in the park.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, March 2

McDonald’s All American Games Pep Rally

McDonald’s and adidas are partnering with a local McDonald’s restaurant and artist David Maldonado to celebrate the McDonald’s All American Games, taking place in Houston later this March. The event will reveal a custom mural inspired by the legacy of the McDonald’s All American Games, on the exterior of the McDonald’s at 4005 Elgin. The free community event will also feature exclusive merch, additional giveaways, family-friendly interactive activities, and the chance to score BOGO deals throughout the day. 1 pm.

Goode Company Armadillo Palace presents Texas Independence Day Dinner

In honor of Texas Independence Day, the Goode Company culinary team, led by chef/owner Levi Goode, will prepare a backyard feast worthy of the celebration. The seated, family-style meal will celebrate authentic Texas culture, community and cuisine with live music from Rio Tripiano, live-fire cooking, cocktails, artisanal Texas wines, and more. The coursed menu carefully prepared by the team over live fire will reflect the rich, indigenous ingredients of our state. 6:30 pm.

Kimbra and Tei Shi in concert

Kimbra will be doing a show at White Oak Music Hall this weekend. But can we talk about her opener, Colombian-Canadian vocalist Tei Shi, for a minute? One of today's most powerful independent voices, Tei Shi is an artist who comes with a phenomenal voice and heart-touching songs. Her music embodies messages of empowerment, truth, love, life, and dealing with the everyday struggles that anyone can relate to. She'll also be dropping a new project this spring. 8 pm.

Friday, March 3

Ncredible Entertainment presents Nick Cannon’s Next Superstar Tour 2023

Nick Cannon comes to Houston as part of his Next Superstar Tour 2023, a celebratory, empowerment journey for the rising stars of music’s next generation. The tour will feature three stages of new talent discovery, including a BMAC x Ncredible Next Superstar Grant, a Next Superstar Educational Seminar, and a Next Superstar show with headlining talent performing. The tour will also feature performances by Symba, 24kGoldn, Justina Valentine, Hitman Holla, JD McCrary, Traetwothree, Klondike Blonde, DW Flame, and Pop Money. 5:30 pm.

DACAMERA presents Christian McBride and New Jawn

Eight-time Grammy-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride is a force of nature. Powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s path has described a continuous positive arc since his arrival on the scene. With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today. Drawing from the lexicon of his hometown, McBride calls his pianoless quartet The New Jawn. 8 pm.

Reeves Art + Design presents Mark Flood: "A Guide for Nude Investors" opening reception

Known for his use of irreverent humor, political commentary, and a variety of mediums, Mark Flood's work provokes audiences to question the established art world and cultural norms. This exhibition retraces 10 years of the artist's sputtering attempts to incorporate digital printing into his art. His work is not for the faint of heart, but for those who crave a thought-provoking experience. Whether you love it or hate it, one thing is for certain: Mark Flood's art will leave a lasting impression. Through Saturday, March 25. 6 pm.

Alley Theatre presents Cowboy Bob

You wouldn’t look twice at Peggy Jo. She's a good daughter, always tips, plays by the rules. But when she dons a fake beard, sunglasses, and a ten-gallon hat, she becomes “Cowboy Bob,” the slickest bank robber Texas has ever known. Equal parts Riot Grrrl rage and Texas twang, this world premiere musical, loosely based on actual events (and co-authored by Galveston’s own Molly Beach Murphy), invites audiences to join the heist, take life by the reins, and let it ride. Through Sunday, March 26. 8 pm (2:30 pm Sunday).

Saturday, March 4

First Saturday Arts Market

First Saturday Arts Market, Houston’s original monthly outdoor art market, will celebrate 19 years this weekend. Visitors will find over three dozen friendly artists offering art in a variety of popular mediums. Insect lovers will even feel included with two options: watercolor-painted specimens by Paul Atwell and professionally preserved insects, mounted and framed by Ruben Salazar. This month, the food truck will be Dibi Rapide, serving Senegalese food, the West African-themed truck influenced by North African, French, and Portuguese cuisine. 11 am.

Hands-on Houston: Suncatchers

Design your own suncatcher, inspired by the upcoming exhibition TG: Transitions in Kiln-Glass. Learn how to cut various shapes from clear acrylic to create your composition. Play with layering your shapes and colors, like the exhibiting artists do with kiln glass. Experiment with how your acrylic is affected by the light. Add your finished suncatcher to a window ledge to experience how the spring sun brings your composition to life. This activity will take place indoors and is on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. 11 am.

Heights Crawfish Festival

The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce Crawfish Festival is back this weekend. Come out, support your community and shop local. There will be vendor booths, a Kids World, live music by Step Rideau and The Zydeco Outlaws, an Idol of the Heights contest, cold beer and the best crawfish in the Heights. There are also Crawfish Festival Plates and Bucks. If you buy four plates, you get one free. And if you buy 50 tickets, you get 10 free (good for beer, hot dogs, sausage on a stick). 11 am.

Red Bull Dance Your Style Houston Audition

POST will host Red Bull Dance Your Style, a global all-styles street dance event series. From hip hop to house, dancers participating in Red Bull Dance Your Style’s Houston audition will need to “wow” the crowd and judges. Dancers will be tested on their freestyle skills through unpredictable mainstream tracks, ranging from recent global hits to classic beats. Only two winners will move on to the Red Bull Dance Your Style Memphis Qualifier later this month. 2 pm.

Sunday, March 5

New Beginnings Spring Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

This free, family-friendly festival welcomes spring with celebratory traditions from across the Middle East and Asia. This also marks the opening of the New Galleries for Art of the Islamic Worlds and anticipates Nowruz, the renewal of spring that has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years. Immerse your senses in the sounds and flavors of the regions as you enjoy music, dance, poetry, art activities, and food from local vendors. 1 pm.

Houston Arboretum presents Pup Crawl & Pet Expo

The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center invites all interested humans to bring their favorite furry friends to a “pup” crawl, located on the Arboretum grounds. After four special Saint Arnold beer stops along the Arboretum trails, guests will interact with local pet vendors at the Pet Expo and walk away with a commemorative glass. Proceeds support the conservation and education programs of the Houston Arboretum and BARC, the City of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption center. Pet adoptions will also be available onsite. 3 pm.

Jazzy Sundays in the Parks

Discovery Green Conservancy, Buffalo Bayou Park Partnership, and Emancipation Park Conservancy are bringing residents weekly free jazz concerts in March, April, and May, made possible by the Kinder Foundation. The free concert lineup is designed to celebrate the legacy and evolution of jazz in Houston. Local and regional musicians representing the best in jazz and its related forms such as gospel, blues zydeco and more will perform. Things kick off at Emancipation Park with Grammy-winning pianist Robert Glasper. 5 pm.

Here are the top 12 things to do in Houston this weekend

weekend event planner

The first weekend of 2023 offers some feel-good fun in theater, music, and comedy starring some familiar names.

Fans of the romcom classic Pretty Woman will delight in the red-hot musical that's in town. Fans of David and Bowie and Elvis can celebrate the stars at a show honoring them both. And, fans of Elton John and Billy Joel can jam at a Houston Symphony show of the pair's greatest hits.

Plus, some funny folk stage some serious comedy this weekend. Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, January 5

The Riot presents "Live LAUGH Love" Comedians on Relationships

We’re nowhere near Valentine’s Day, but you can still head over to the legendary Rudyard's comedy room to catch comedians share their dating experiences and answer your questions about relationships. The club features comedy shows with the funniest comedians you've seen on Netflix, HBO, Comedy Central, at the Comedy Store and Comedy Cellar. They also serve tasty food, draught beer, wine, Delta-8, and cocktails in an intimate and casual setting. 7 pm.

Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center: Pretty Woman

Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time, this stage-musical version of the 1990 movie that made Julia Roberts a star springs to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time, Tony-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. The production features an original score by Grammy winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance & a book by Garry Marshall, the movie’s late director, and screenwriter J. F. Lawton. 7:30 pm (8 pm Friday; 2 and 8 pm Saturday; 2 and 7:30 pm Sunday).

ISHIDA presents Stirs up still things

Stirs up still things includes world premieres by ISHIDA based on original poetic narratives and works by emerging and renowned, international choreographers. “Among dim shapes” follows an intimate relationship and the ghosts they carry, triggered by archetypal patterns. The program also includes a new creation by Swedish dancer, film director, and choreographer John Wannehag (formerly with Tanzmainz), and a new work by award-winning, British-Finnish choreographer Kristian Lever. 8 pm (2 pm Sunday).

Friday, January 6

Vitacca Vocational School for Dance presents Winter Works

This Friday and Saturday, Vitacca Vocational School for Dance presents this two-act performance, featuring Vitacca Studio Company dancers in a restaged excerpt of La Bayadere and original contemporary works. These works are created by 2022-23 guest artists Greg Dolbashian, Jess Hendricks, Sean Aaron Carmon, Garrett Smith and Kelly Ann Vitacca. 7 pm.

Improv Houston presents Bill Bellamy

Using his experiences growing up in Newark, former MTV VJ (and creator of the phrase “booty call”) Bill Bellamy started doing stand-up while he was a student at Rutgers University. Bellamy quickly discovered how much he enjoyed making people laugh, and began honing his skills at small comedy clubs around the country and was soon making waves in clubs and on shows like HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. 7:30 and 9:45 pm (7 and 9 pm Saturday; 7:30 pm Sunday).

Houston Symphony presents The Music of Elton John and Billy Joel

From “Rocket Man” to “Piano Man,” the iconic hits of two classic rock legends come alive in this special concert. Piano-and-vocal talent Michael Cavanaugh — handpicked by Billy Joel to recreate his music in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out — delivers electrifying renditions of the songs you know and love, including “Tiny Dancer,” “Uptown Girl,” “Your Song,” “New York State of Mind,” “Saturday Night’s Alright,” and many more. 8 pm (2:30 pm Sunday).

Saturday, January 7

Community Artists' Collective presents Morgan Newton: "When I Think of Home" opening reception

The Community Artists’ Collective opens the new year with a solo exhibition by local artist Morgan Newton. The paintings included in this exhibition mark a stylistic shift that conveys the aesthetic and spiritual blossoming of Newton’s pursuit to internalize familial notions of home and cultivate home within herself. Newton centers Black female figures as symbols for her life experiences, in idealized, chromatic and in some cases, fantastically celestial environments to suggest the infinite potential of the nurtured self. Through Saturday, February 4. 2 pm.

Splice Records presents 14th Annual BowiElvis Fest

Yes, there will be many David Bowie-related events popping off this weekend. But, of course, the Continental Club and Splice Records will have its annual birthday party for Bowie and Elvis Presley, two of the most beloved and influential artists of the previous century. This year’s fest will feature music by Swimwear Department, Pecos Hank, Brian Scartocci, and Henry & the Invisibles. 6:30 pm.

The Museum of FIne Arts, Houston presents The Conformist

When a member of Mussolini’s secret police and his new bride travel to Paris for their honeymoon, Marcello plans to assassinate his former college professor, an outspoken anti-Fascist living in exile. But Marcello’s political and romantic loyalties are tested when he meets the professor’s alluring young wife. A commentary on Fascism and beauty alike, Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1970 masterpiece is acclaimed for its sumptuous visuals and extravagant, artful cinematography. 7 pm (2 pm Sunday).

Sunday, January 8

Italian Cultural & Community Center presents Festa della Befana 2023

Come learn about this Italian holiday tradition with your family. Children will receive sweets from Befana when she comes to visit. L a Befana is an old, kind woman who flies by broomstick on the night of January 5, dropping off goodies for kids to wake up to. According to the legend, the three kings asked her to come with them to bring gifts to baby Jesus. Now, she flies on her broomstick and brings treats to children each year on Three Kings' Day. 3 pm.

Leonard "Lowdown" Brown and Jonn Richardson Play Lucky's Guitar at Emmit's Place

Do you know the story of Lucky Peterson and his ostrich-covered guitar? If you don’t, read it here. And, after that, you can check out this very special, afternoon event. At the request of the current owners, both Leonard “Lowdown” Brown and Jonn Richardson will be playing this custom, ostrich-covered guitar before it is lovingly returned home to Lucky Peterson’s family. A wonderful story of this guitar and its journey home – 15 years in the making. 5 pm.

The Gumbo Jam

It’s time once again to get all funky and well-fed, at this Louisiana-inspired jam session with a serious food menu. This session is home to all things hip-hop and jazz. Singers, rappers, poets, musicians and, of course, horn players from all over come to party in the loose, laid-back vibe of Matthew Hartnett & The Gumbo All-Stars. If you like to dance, eat good food, and hear great music, this is the place. And, yes, there will be hookahs! 8 pm.

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Brad Paisley steals hearts — and a fan's phone — in his Star Trail of Fame RodeoHouston show

a star is born

Just a few hours before hitting the stage for his 15th show at RodeoHouston on Saturday, March 18, Brad Paisley was inducted into the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Star Trail of Fame.

The guitar picker joined the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Charley Pride, Elvis Presley, Gene Autry (the first performer ever), Roy Rogers, Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Selena.

Unless you are a certified rodeo rat like myself and have spent years stalking the halls of the NRG Center assignments, you’ve likely never seen this wall of gold plaques, located on the second floor of NRG Center outside HLSR’s offices.

Paisley’s star is the tenth on the wall, hanging next to Selena. On Saturday, he spoke briefly at an unveiling ceremony hosted by HLSR organizers.

“There’s nothing like this in the world,” Paisley told the assembled Houston press and rodeo brass on Saturday afternoon. “You guys realize that.”

It’s an honor reserved for the performers who’ve made a pronounced mark on the event. For some, like Reba and Strait, it’s about longevity and universal draw. While Selena (1993, 1994, 1995) and Elvis Presley (1970, 1974) only appeared at the rodeo a handful of times, their appearances have grown into sacred cultural milestones for two distinct demographics.

In Houston, you can age a native by who they first saw at the rodeo, like cowboy cosplay carbon dating. It doesn’t take long into a casual conversation about the rodeo without someone bragging about who they first saw.

Not unlike vegans, it won’t take long for someone to edify you with tales of seeing Elvis’ name on the Dome’s exploding scoreboard, or seeing Selena’s famous outfits in living color on Diamond Vision from the cheap seats. For me, it was being four years old and Strait showing off some of his ocean front property in 1987.

Paisley’s rodeo stops have always been breathers, nights to stretch and enjoy the scenery, like an industry night for the rodeo season. He’s performed at every RodeoHouston held since 2014, and without COVID changing the world’s plans, Saturday night’s matinee would have been his 17th show.

I’ve never heard anyone say an unkind word about a Paisley variety show stop. The rodeo’s starred stage, in whatever iteration, feels like home to him. The Grand Ole Opry and Guitar Hall of Fame member could be the house performer at an all-year rodeo theme park and no one would bat an eye.

He’s grown into an ambassador for a gentler, comical side of modern country music that’s always needed. Running counter to the stuffy modern hat acts, the sterner indie-toned traditionalists, and the rap-liters. Paisley’s the dude playing the hits, showing off his picking fingers, and having a beer with everyone in the room. No one else on this year’s rodeo lineup besides Paisley has recorded a song with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, either.

On Saturday night, Paisley brought the warmth from his plaque unveiling onto the stage in front of a sold out matinee crowd. “River Bank” kicked things off with Paisley’s slashing riverbilly guitar out front.

It only took three songs for Paisley to make his first tour onto the dirt for “Perfect Storm”, which morphed into a cover of “The Love Boat” TV theme song as Paisley took a victory lap on the west side of the stadium. Of course, “Water” was the next song.

Music videos have always been Paisley’s multimedia creative jam and he made sure to sprinkle some gems from his videography into the set and screens. “Waitin’ On a Woman” came with the requisite posthumous cameo from Andy Griffith from the music video. For “Celebrity,” Paisley’s own mascot from the industry-skewering viral video made a minor cameo in the chute seats.

For a foggy mountain jam, Paisley and his band members with instruments that can go mobile joined him on the dirt for a road trip.

“You’re such a beautiful mix of Budweiser, cow shit, and Brut Cologne,” Paisley told the crowd as “I’m Still A Guy” worked its way into the set list.

Paisley stole a fan’s phone for a spell and began to play on Aurora Fernandez Sordelli’s Instagram account, perusing her socials and critiquing her profile. It completely made sense for United States Congressman Dan Crenshaw to sit in on “American Saturday Night,” playing tambourine more than slightly off beat.

Brad Paisley RodeoHouston 2023

Photo by Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

“The Brad Paisley Variety Hour has been a certified hit for 15 rodeo seasons running and hopefully, we’re only at the beginning of its run.


River Bank

Wrapped Around

Perfect Storm

The Literal Love Boat Theme


Waitin’ On a Woman



Last Time For Everything

Old Alabama

I’m Still A Guy

This is Country Music

American Saturday Night (with Dan Crenshaw on tambourine)


She’s Everything

Longtime Houston news anchor's new commercial success leads week's hottest stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Longtime Houston news anchor boasts serious commercial success in new TV gig. Our columnist catches up with the former ABC13 employee about life as a TV spokesperson.

2. The ultimate Houston list of kid-friendly and family fun for spring break 2023. We've rounded up more than 20 suggestions to beat back boredom.

3. Turnpike Troubadours kick up some red dirt redemption in RodeoHouston's top-selling show to date. Like Ferris Bueller, Turnpike brings together the country music tribes..

4. 9 best Houston bars for 2023 mix legendary local faves with must-visit newcomers. Presenting the nominees for Bar of the Year in the 2023 Tastemaker Awards.

5. Local Foods owner serves up French bistro with caviar service, regional classics, and a duck-short rib burger in Rice Village. The new restaurant is located in the former Thai Spice space.

Brad Paisley joins George Strait and Selena with induction into RodeoHouston's prestigious Star Trail of Fame

paisley park

Country superstar Brad Paisley's RodeoHouston performance on Saturday, March 18 will mark more than his 15th time taking the Rodeo stage.

The amiable singer and crooner will also be inducted into the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s prestigious Star Trail of Fame at 3 pm the same day.

This honor makes Paisley the 10th star honored with a gold plaque to commemorate his years of outstanding entertainment at the Rodeo. For those keeping score (and there are many), Paisley has played at RodeoHouston every year since 2014. He's also famous for his choice of wife, noted actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley.

"Brad Paisley is a great addition to our Star Trail of Fame, as he’s playing his 15th show at RodeoHouston this weekend and continues to be one of our top performers each season," Jason Kane, RodeoHouston's director of entertainment, tells CultureMap. "We’re thrilled to recognize Brad and welcome him to our RodeoHouston family, alongside fellow artists who have helped shaped our show over the years."

As for those other artists on the trail, those include names like the King of Country George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and our beloved Tejano queen Selena.

Fans who want to check out the official Star Trail of Fame can find it on the second floor of NRG Center outside the Rodeo’s offices.