The San Antonio River Walk/ Facebook

The holidays have officially begun and this selection of festive fun is proof. Kick off the season in true Alamo City tradition at the Ford Holiday River Parade, or shop stress-free at the Tobin Center Holiday Art Market. Check out the top seven things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a complete list of events, visit our calendar.

Friday, November 24

Enchanted Springs Ranch presents the Old West Christmas Light Fest
Boerne’s Enchanted Springs Ranch invites visitors to illuminate their spirits and celebrate the yuletide season. Activities include live music, Santa sightings, a s’mores roasting area, millions of holiday lights, and more. The fest is open now through December 23. For more information, check out christmaslightfest.com.

Ford Holiday River Parade
Kick off the holidays in San Antonio at the annual Ford Holiday River Parade. This local tradition and family-friendly event commemorates the lighting of the San Antonio River Walk and will feature floats inspired by this year’s "Holiday Stories” theme. Attendees can expect to see 28 floats and more than 100,000 lights in imaginative, festive displays. Parade seating is available at Arneson River Theatre and other locations along the four-mile route. Get more information at thesanantonioriverwalk.com.

Gruene Hall presents Jon Wolfe in concert
Country music singer-songwriter Jon Wolfe performs live at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels for one night only. He is best known as the voice behind hit songs such as “I Don’t Dance” and “Smile on Mine,” and has released seven studio albums throughout his career. Wolfe will be joined by special guest Cody Hibbard. Get ticket information at gruenehall.thundertix.com.

Tobin Center presents Steve Treviño: America’s Favorite Husband Tour
Rising comedic star and Texan Steve Treviño will perform live for two consecutive evenings at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. His relatable style of comedy and his innate talent for being able to “speak wife fluently” has garnered fans for Treviño across the country. He’s best known for his stand-up specials streaming now on Showtime, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. Tickets are available for purchase at tobincenter.org.

Saturday, November 25

The Tobin Center presents Holiday Art Market
Support the work of fine artists and high-end artisans while procuring the most unique gifts and holiday delights at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The outdoor Holiday Art Market will feature games, food, beverages, holiday music, and the opportunity to shop for treasures created by local artists. Expect to discover and purchase a variety of goods including artwork, home decor, accessories, gourmet food, and much more. For more information about this free market, go to tobincenter.org.

Ford Holiday River Parade San Antonio
The San Antonio River Walk/ Facebook

The Ford Holiday River Parade returns on November 24.

Dirty Dancing in concert
Experience the first film-to-concert production of the iconic ‘80s movie Dirty Dancing live at Majestic Theatre. Audience members will enjoy a digitally remastered screening of the hit film accompanied by a live band and singers, who will perform timeless classics from the movie soundtrack. Go to majesticempire.com for more details.

Sunday, November 26

McNay Art Museum presents Alice Aycock: "Moving through Time"
For the final day, discover and appreciate the work of sculptor and painter Alice Aycock at the McNay Art Museum’s newest exhibition. Guests will be able to view all 10 studies for one of Aycock’s most influential sculptures, 1972’s Maze, and other pieces from their body of work spanning five decades. Go to mcnayart.org for more details.

Photo courtesy of Vanilla Ice

Here are the top 7 things to do in San Antonio this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Cultural gatherings and live music performances have caught our attention and their place on our agenda for the days ahead. See Jawbreaker or Vanilla Ice live in concert or opt for a day at the museum with a new exhibition opening. For a complete list of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, September 14

UTSA presents Jovita Idar Quarter Release Celebration
Mexican-American activist, Jovita Idar, is presented as the newest American Women Quarters™ Program featured figure at this special UTSA Downtown Campus-hosted event. Highlights of this event include a keynote address by Emmy-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa and the gift of a complimentary Jovita Idar Quarter for all attendees. Admission is free and open to the public.

Jawbreaker in concert with Joyce Manor and Grumpster
Punk rock music takes the stage at Aztec Theatre by way of Jawbreaker. This one-night-only concert from the American punk rock band will include performances of songs from the group’s discography spanning four studio albums. Jawbreaker will be joined by special guests Joyce Manor and Grumpster. Get more ticketing information on LiveNation.

Friday, September 15

McNay Art Museum presents de la Torre Brothers: "Post-Columbian Futurism"
A large survey of works from brother artists Einar and Jamex de la Torre is unveiled for display at McNay Art Museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the brothers’ blown glass sculptures, installation, lenticular prints, wallpaper, and more creations as part of this curated showcase. Following opening weekend, the exhibition is on view through September 2024. Get additional details at mcanayart.org.

Confluence Park presents Cochineala - Bioluminescence
Confluence Park comes to glowing life with the help of bioluminescent organisms found in nature. This nighttime and family-friendly experience will include live screen printing, Glow-in-the-Dark Painting, a night zoo animals meet and greet, and more. The evening’s cornerstone event is the world premiere of “Lights in Play,” the new production by URBAN-15 Performance Ensemble. Audiences will enjoy a production that fuses dance, video projections, mirrors, ambient percussion, light-emitted creatures, and more during the evening’s headlining performance. Admission to the experience is free with registration at Eventbrite.

Saturday, September 16

Little Flower Basilica presents Basilica Bazaar
Shop and discover a variety of handmade goods and wares by local vendors and artisans at Little Flower Basilica. Basilica Bazaar guests can expect to find a variety of gifts and items available for purchase including arts, decor, jewelry, crafts, and more. A heritage tour will also be available for guests who choose to stick around after the market. Bazaar admission is free and open to the public.

Vibe 107.5 FM presents I Love The '90s Tour
Enjoy a healthy dose of nostalgia when you enjoy a selection of memorable hits from some of the most popular musical acts of the 1990s. This old-school concert hosted by Vibe 107.5 FM at The Espee will feature performances by Young MC. 2 Live Crew, Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, and Color Me Badd. Get ticket details on theespee.com.

Sunday, September 17

Kickin' It San Antonio
Sneakerheads from near and far are invited to gather, shop, collect, trade, and network at Freeman Coliseum. Highlights of the all-day event include a variety of vendors from across the state, rare sneaker finds, vintage apparel, art, and more. For more information and to buy tickets, go to unboxdshop.com.

Vanilla Ice
Photo courtesy of Vanilla Ice

Vanilla Ice performs live at The Espee on September 16.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

This is the average holiday shopping budget for a San Antonio household

Hey, big spenders

Santa and his elves get busier with every passing year, but sometimes even Kris Kringle has to use his black card to get the job done. And according to a new study by Wallethub, Santa's gonna be working overtime to fulfill the orders for residents of San Antonio and New Braunfels this holiday season.

The personal finance experts have determined New Braunfels is the U.S. city with the No. 300 most expensive holiday spending budget in 2023 (out of more than 550 total cities). Shoppers are expected to spend $1,108 this festive season.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Braunfels' estimated population of 104,707 had a median household income of $76,890.

This is New Braunfels' first time in the holiday shopping spotlight. The Central Texas city didn't earn a spot in last year's report.

New Braunfels' average budget is much more affordable than Frisco's, which ranked No. 3 in the nation with an average household holiday spending budget of $3,546.

San Antonio is a returnee, but dropped from No. 431 last year into No. 457 this year. The average holiday budget for a San Antonio household is $844 this year, in comparison to $803 last year.

Six other Central Texas cities landed in this year's report on the heftiest holiday budgets:

  • No. 44 – Cedar Park ($2,354)
  • No. 71 – Austin ($1,877)
  • No. 262 – Waco ($1,185)
  • No. 283 – Round Rock ($1,148)
  • No. 425 – Temple ($903)
  • No. 481 – Killeen ($793)

Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for more than 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio, and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.

Shoppers will have to keep a closer eye on their bank accounts this year while they search for the best gifts for their loved ones. Many consumers are running out of savings accumulated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Yao Jin, an associate professor of supply chain management at Miami University.

To combat overspending, Jin suggests setting hard budgets based on personal financial circumstances and develop a list of "must haves" rather than "nice to haves."

"Holiday times are festive, and retailers know that festivities can boost mood and lead to a propensity to overspend," he said in the Wallethub report. "In fact, that is also why retailers tend to have more generous return policies to both alleviate concerns of unwanted gifts and buyer’s remorse. The key to avoiding holiday overspending is for consumers to take the emotions out of the decision, to the extent possible."

Other Texas cities that made it in the top 100 include:
  • No. 3 – Frisco ($3,546)
  • No. 5 – Flower Mound ($3,485)
  • No. 10 – The Woodlands ($3,316)
  • No. 14 – Sugar Land ($3,210)
  • No. 22 – Allen ($2,964)
  • No. 30 – Plano ($2,566)
  • No. 31 – Pearland ($2,566)
  • No. 34 – Missouri City ($2,517)
  • No. 56 – McKinney ($2,165)
  • No. 67 – Carrollton ($1,928)
  • No. 77 – Richardson ($1,809)
  • No. 95 – League City ($1,733)\
  • No. 99 – North Richland Hills ($1,706)

The report and its methodology can be found on wallethub.com.

Warm neutrals and kitchen hideaways among Houzz's 10 top home design predictions for 2024

designed with care

Industrial-style kitchens and tongue-and-groove ceilings were among the hottest home design trends of 2023, but next year is shaping up to be all about timeless style blended with familiar trends of the past.

A new report by Houzz predicts the top home design trends that could emerge in 2024, using data based on the website's search results and expert insight. Here are the top 10 trends they're forecasting in months to come.

Mixing tile and stone for backsplashes
Tile remains the leading backsplash choice for kitchens. However, designers are choosing to break up the monotony of an all-tile background by installing stone or quartz slabs behind the stovetop.

"The slab is often the same material as the countertops, giving the kitchen a vertical display of graphic veining or other interesting details to create a striking focal point that’s easy to wipe clean," the report said.

Fluted furniture
Fluted furniture (namely cabinets and dressers) was initially popular during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after many viral DIY videos highlighted the idea's budget-friendliness. And Houzz reports that fluted elements have been seen frequently enough "throughout the year" at trade shows to make it a possible emerging trend in 2024. Nearly all furniture pieces can be adorned with the thick appearance of the fluted texture, from bathroom vanities to living room furniture.

2024 Houzz home design trendsJust don't get toothpaste on the fluted bathroom vanity.Photo by Shanna Hickman / parsons i.d.

Cool tones are out, warm neutrals are in
It might be time to say goodbye to "agreeable gray" wall paint, according to Houzz. Gone are the days of cool-toned rooms, as more and more designers are leaning back toward warmer neutrals like beige, cream, and rich brown.

"We first predicted this infusion in the kitchen, but the look is beginning to dominate throughout the home to offer a calmer, more welcoming environment," the report said.

While you're in the middle of picking out your next room color, don't forget to incorporate different tones or experiment with new textures and patterns to give the room a "layered look" that can be versatile across every season.

Blue is the color of 2024
Designers on Houzz are predicting blue will be the color of 2024, no matter what Pantone decides the Color of the Year will be. Adding a pop of color to any room is a great way to draw attention to certain pieces a homeowner may want to showcase.

"Whether it’s a sky-inspired hue or a deep watery color, look for an array of blues to be featured more prominently in decorative materials and housewares in the coming year," the report said.

2024 Houzz home design trendsWarm neutrals are in, but so is a nice calming blue.Photo by Mike Healey Photography / Brittany Lyons Interiors

Can't go wrong with a timeless look
Sustainability is also top-of-mind for many homeowners and designers heading into the new year, no matter what overarching design style they've chosen. According to the report, timeless details like brick, handmade clay tiles, and wood are becoming trendy among modern homes looking for a "quiet luxury" aesthetic. Adding more traditional design elements is also a popular choice for home renovations.

Handmade and custom design details
Speaking along the lines of a timeless style, designers are often searching for handmade or custom-made pieces to include in a home. European design shows championed personalized design elements in 2023, and the idea is catching fire throughout the U.S.

"[Bespoke elements] create a feeling that the homeowner has something truly unique and special," the report said.

A 2023 Houzz report analyzing bathroom trends further corroborates this shift to personalized details with the discovery that 62 percent of homeowners renovating their space were opting for custom-made bathroom vanities.

Hideaways for your countertop appliances
According to interior design blog Apartment Therapy, appliance garages rose to fame in the 1980s-90s, but eventually fell out of favor in the public eye when open shelving began to take over as the dominant kitchen trend. Now the clocks are turning back, and appliance garages are seeing a resurgence among homeowners who want to hide all the gadgets taking up space on their counters.

"Appliance garages conceal countertop appliances such as blenders, coffee makers, and toasters while keeping them easily accessible and organized," the report said.

Where else are we supposed to keep the air fryers or stand mixers?

2024 Houzz home design trendsNo kitchen gadgets will be taking up space in this kitchen while being hidden behind folding cabinet doors.Photo by Andrea Rugg Photography / kate roos design

Herringbone design
In another win for timeless style, herringbone is also making a comeback and can suit any room in a house. As a new-and-improved style, herringbone doesn't have to flow horizontally like it commonly used to. Designers are opting to create an "updated" look with herringbone tile by installing it in funky zig-zag or vertical patterns to improve visual interest.

2024 Houzz home design trends

Photo by Shanna Wolf Photography / Rochelle Lee Interiors LLC

Can't go wrong with herringbone tiles in the kitchen.

Combination laundry and mud rooms
For families with kids running around, combining the laundry room with the mud room is one of the safest ways to mitigate entryway messes. And it's becoming increasingly popular.

"[A mud-laundry room] lets homeowners place grimy sports uniforms, sandy beach towels, or muddy winter coats directly into the wash before they track dirt further into a home," the report said. "A utility sink lets you soak dirty clothes or delicates, and a pulldown faucet is effective at rinsing muddy boots or cleats."

Designers on Houzz highly recommend taking advantage of a mudroom's cabinets, hooks, and cubbies to help organize all the clean clothing, athletic gear, and other items.

Let the green grass grow
When it comes to maintaining curb appeal, leaving more room for greenery never hurts. Garden paths and patios made of pavers that leave space in between for grass to grow is an emerging trend for 2024. Houzz says the natural look and design versatility of greenery between pavers softens the harsh angles of the stone and other hardscape elements. Plus, who doesn't love living in a house where the backyard looks like a lush garden?

2024 Houzz home design trendsA cozy backyard where the green grass grows.Photo courtesy of J. Montgomery Designs, Inc.

Complexity of Napoleon brings it down despite its epic size

Movie Review

Napoleon Bonaparte is a historical figure who has a mythic feel thanks to the many retellings of his life, and because he has a complex named after him that gets brought up any time a short person comes to power. Still, if a full retelling of Napoleon’s personal life and time as the leader of France exists on film, it’s been a long time since anyone attempted it.

Director Ridley Scott has taken on that challenge with Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the late 18th/early 19th century military commander. It follows him through most of his adult life, from his rise amid the French Revolution, to establishing himself as a brilliant military tactician, to attaining the position of Emperor following a coup d’etat, each of which was due in large part to the many battles in which he fought and won across Europe.

The film pays equal attention to his relationship with Josephine de Beauharnais (Vanessa Kirby), although calling it a romance would be inaccurate. The film portrays his interest in her as far outweighing hers in him, with Napoleon constantly trying to check in on Josephine from afar while she continues her pre-marriage ways of jumping into bed with whomever she pleases.

Scott, working from a script by David Scarpa, has made an epic-sized movie that is strangely uninteresting. Perhaps it’s a result of trying to cover so many aspects of Napoleon’s life, but little of the film is comprehensible for anyone who doesn’t have a strong knowledge of his biography. The intricacies of the French political system and the various warring countries in Europe at the time all blend together in the film, with the only thing that’s clear is that Napoleon managed to find a way to involve himself in all of it.

What does make an impact are the efforts he would personally go to in order to ensure that he had a tactical advantage over his opponents. There are several examples of him scouting an enemy’s position to formulate a plan, and then see that plan go exactly like he predicted, which makes his influence and rise to power all the more understandable.

That is juxtaposed with his ineptitude with Josephine. It’s here that his feelings of inadequacy truly start to show, as he desperately tries to prove himself to a mostly disinterested Josephine. But Scott and Scarpa never find a great way to evolve the interactions between the couple, and so most of the time spent with them is tedious to the point of boredom.

Phoenix has put in some great performances over the years, but this is not one of them. He’s not actively bad in the role, but he just doesn’t seem to be a great fit for it. Kirby, initially given a god-awful wig to wear, has some nice moments, but nothing compared to her parts in Mission: Impossible or Pieces of a Woman. All of the supporting characters are just that, with no one standing out save for maybe Rupert Everett in a few scenes as Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.

History buffs may relish the chance to have Napoleon’s many exploits given a big screen extravaganza, but they may be the only ones who are able to track his progress to power in Scott’s version of events. The film is epic in scale, but it’s also lackluster in its execution.


Napoleon is now playing in theaters.

Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon

Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon.