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Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls

With the end of this brutal summer finally (hopefully?!) in sight, it is time to start planning for fall. Call it second summer, as in still plenty warm for enjoying the outdoors but no longer hot enough to melt pavement. Here are six places perfect for a much-needed autumn getaway. Take one (or more) as your just reward for surviving another scorching Texas summer.

Lake Bastrop North Shore Park
This LCRA park in Bastrop hugs the shore of a constant temperature lake for swimming, paddling (canoe, kayak, SUP, and Corcl rentals available), or fishing (with a boat ramp and pier). The park features almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, including one connecting to Lake Bastrop South Shore Park, and a sand volleyball court, too. Stay in one of 5 Airstream campers, 2 cabins, or 6 safari style tents. All have grills for cooking and decks for enjoying views of the lake and the stars while sipping a cold one. Other dining and entertainment options in nearby Bastrop, including a distillery and several breweries and taprooms. Neighbor's Kitchen & Yard and Iron Bridge Icehouse, both on the banks of the Colorado River, serve food, craft beer and cocktails, and live music.

Lake Georgetown
At this Corps of Engineers reservoir, choose from four campgrounds with RV and tent camping options. Enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking (rentals available at Russell Park), and hiking. The crown jewel is the Good Water Trail, a 26-mile loop around the entire lake through a variety of terrain, with multiple trailheads offering the opportunity for shorter hikes. Dining options, wine bars, breweries, and other lodging options are nearby in Georgetown. Check out Barking Armadillo Brewing and, on the courthouse square, three wine tasting rooms and multiple dining options.

Matagorda Bay Nature Park
Located where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico, Matagorda Bay offers miles of uncrowded beaches for combing and wetlands for paddling. Rent beach chairs, wagons, and kayaks (guided tours available), play miniature golf, fish on the beach or pier, or birdwatch. In addition to Airstream rentals and camping and RV sites, visitors now can rent one of 10 new bungalows that sleep from six to eight people, with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor decks, gas grills, and fantastic views.

Port Aransas
Miles of beach, without summer crowds: What else do you need? Well, perhaps a place to stay, and you’ll find every option from fancy condos to kitschy cottages in this seaside town. Plenty of dining and entertainment options, too. Try the local seafood at places like La Playa Mexican Grill, Fins Grill & Icehouse, and Seafood and Spaghetti Works. Have a cold one at Bernie’s Beach House, the Port A Beer Hut, or Moby Dick’s. Rent bicycles, golf carts, surfboards, and kayaks at Island Surf Rentals (check out the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail). Or just sit on the beach.

Painted Sky Inn
Located on a tranquil inlet of Lake Buchanan, this waterfront property offers rooms for two to ten people with kitchens and lake views, as well as a tiny home and a vintage Airstream. Amenities include fire pits, BBQ grills, a fishing pier, and canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park (day pass reservations recommended), or tour several nearby wineries (Torr Na Lochs and Fall Creek, to name two) and breweries (Save the World Brewing and Double Horn Brewing), plus dining options in Burnet and Marble Falls.

Frio River
The aptly-named Frio River is famous for swimming and tubing in the summer. The most popular way to enjoy the river is Garner State Park, but getting weekend reservations can be tough. Another option is Neal’s Lodges, a sprawling family-owned complex that includes 81 cabins, 10 lodges, 17 condos, 45 RV hook-ups, and 16 tent sites, plus a country store and dining room. See a bat emergence at nearby Frio Cave or a bit farther away in Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Saturdays are for fine dining at The Laurel Tree and diner fare at Lost Maples Café, both in Utopia, and Concan has several eateries as well (some close after the summer season, so check websites).

Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park near Marble Falls.

Photo courtesy of Visit Marble Falls
Find miles of hiking trails at Canyon of the Eagles and Inks Lake State Park near Marble Falls.
Photo by Melanie Maganias Nashan

Legendary Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen storms into San Antonio for final tour

Feelin' Good Again

The road, it seems, does not go on forever, and the party — at least the live one — is wrapping up for legendary Texas songwriter Robert Earl Keen. In January 2022, the he announced his decision in January 2022 to retire at the top of his game, and the acclaimed musician is making the most of his final touring year with a romping, rowdy set of shows across his home state of Texas.

“I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of brilliant, talented, colorful, electrical, magical folks throughout my life,” Keen shared in a video on his social media channels. “This chorus of joy, this parade of passion, this bull rush of creativity, this colony of kindness and generosity are foremost in my thoughts today. It’s with a mysterious concoction of joy and sadness that I want to tell you that as of September 4, 2022, I will no longer tour or perform publicly.”

The final leg of his final tour will kick off in Corpus Christi on August 4 and run through September 4, making stops at several Texas institutions, including a night at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, two nights at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, and three nights of sold-out shows at Floore's Country Store in Helotes.

With a catalog of 21 albums, his band of stellar musicians, and many thousands of shows under his belt, Keen has earned living-legend status in the Americana music world. A Houston native, he grew up on classic rock and Willie Nelson records, teaching himself the guitar by the time he entered Texas A&M University. Keen co-wrote “The Front Porch Song” with fellow Texas legend and friend Lyle Lovett, which both artists recorded on their debut albums.

Keen followed in the footsteps of some of the Lone Star State’s most revered singer-songwriters, producing and financing his first album No Kinda Dancer before moving to Nashville. By the time he moved back to Texas, he had a publishing deal, a new label, and a national booking agent. He released The Live Album and West Textures, the seminal album which debuted what remains his all-time fan favorite, "The Road Goes on Forever."

Since then, two more albums, A Bigger Piece of Sky and Gringo Honeymoon, produced instant classics like "Corpus Christi Bay," "Gringo Honeymoon," "Dreadful Selfish Crime," and "Merry Christmas from the Family.” Keen’s acclaim as a writer has earned him membership in the Texas Heritage Songwriter Hall of Fame, The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the Texas Institute of Letters.

While Keen will continue to write music, host his popular podcast, support young artists, and follow his artistic muse wherever it takes him, his already-sold-out final public concert will be September 4 at John T. Floores Country Store in Helotes, Texas, followed by a fan appreciation party at the same venue on September 5.

Below is the complete list of dates and venues for his World Tour of Texas. Local presale tickets will go on sale on Thursday, May 26, from 10 am-10 pm. All tickets will be on sale Friday, May 27, at 10 am.

  • August 4 — Concrete Street Amphitheater, Corpus Christi
  • August 5 — Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, San Antonio
  • August 6 — KOKE Fest, Hutto
  • August 12 — Starlight Ranch, Amarillo
  • August 17-18 — Gruene Hall, New Braunfels
  • August 19 — The Grand 1894 Opera House, Galveston
  • August 20 — Texas Uprising, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston
  • August 21 — Julie Rogers Theater, Beaumont
  • August 24 — The Factory Deep Ellum, Dallas
  • August 25 — Billy Bob’s Texas, Fort Worth
  • August 26 — Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, Midland
  • August 28-29 — ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Austin
  • September 1 — Floore’s Country Store, Helotes (sold out)
  • September 2 — TBA, College Station
  • September 3-4 — Floore’s Country Store, Helotes (sold out)

Edgy comedian-actor-podcaster Bill Burr makes slight return to San Antonio on new tour

a killer bill

Edgy, insightful, and a little fed up with pretty much everything, comedian/actor/podcaster Bill Burr has earned a loyal following for his deadpan takes on pop culture, sports, and society as a whole. “When are mom and dad gonna stop arguing over gender-neutral bathrooms you can hang an AR-15 in?” he asks.

San Antonio Burr fans can catch takes such as these when he hits AT&T Center on December 17 for his new (Slight Return) tour. Burr will also make Texas stops at Toyota Center in Houston on September 9, American Airlines Center in Dallas, on September 10, and the Moody Center in Austin on December 16. His San Antonio stop will be the last date on his 53-city tour.

General on sale begins at 10 am Friday, May 20 through Ticketmaster and Burr’s official site.

The Grammy-nominated comedian regularly sells out venues internationally; his Monday Morning Podcast is one of the most downloaded comedy podcasts available. He’ll host his new Netflix special, Bill Burr Presents: Friends Who Kill on June 6. He just wrapped filming the feature, Old Dads, which he will star in and also co-wrote and directed.

A streaming presence, Burr’s animated Netflix series, F Is For Family, just ended its fifth and final season starring Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, and Sam Rockwell. He also boasts a Roku series, Bill Burr Presents: Immoral Compass. Last September, Bill had a guest appearance on the hit FX on Hulu series, Reservation Dogs, as well as a fan-favorite spot on the Disney+ streaming smash, The Mandalorian.

Burr also popped up in Hollywood features with A-listers in The Front Runner, Daddy’s Home, Heat, and Stand Up Guys. Breaking Bad fans know him well as Kuby.

On August 21, Burr will make history as the first comedian to perform at Fenway Park.

Photo by Koby Brown Photography/Galveston Historical Foundation

Step back in time inside 9 grand and historic Galveston homes on popular tour

living history

Half the fun of a visit to Galveston (the other half being the beach, of course) is admiring all the grand and glorious turn-of-the-century homes in historic neighborhoods throughout the island. A popular annual tour takes architecture and design lovers inside several significant properties once a year, and it's coming up.

The Galveston Historic Homes Tour, which returns for its 48th year, kicked off May 7 and will host an encore event this weekend on May 14 and 15.

In addition to the self-guided tour of these private homes, there are a host of other events, including happy hours and walking tours, and Plein Air Southwest, a competition, show, and sale featuring more than 40 artists.

The home tour features nine historic private residences, dating between 1866 and 1931. Featuring a range of architectural styles, these homes showcase the beauty of life on the island, and offer a glimpse at their owner's approach to renovation and preservation.

Among them is the blue-shuttered Oscar and Mary Walker House, built in 1896. Its double galleries and side hall plan are typical of homes of the period. The Stubbs-Garrigan Bungalow, located on Avenue P and built in 1922 for cotton clerk Sidney Stubbs, sports a lovely inset porch. The Dr. Albert and Willie Dean Singleton House on Broadway was designed by Houston architect Cameron Fairchild, one of several he designed for Galveston's elite.

A full list of all the homes on tour is here.

Tours run 10 am to 6 pm on May 14 and 15. Tickets are $40 and are available online or day-of at any of the tour homes.

Meanwhile, tickets and reservations for special events, such as the History On Tap dinner at 1838 Menard House, or any of the walking tours, must be purchased separately.

All of the events offer experiences to walk in the footsteps of Galveston's storied past, and should prove fun for all ages.

A historic home on Broadway.

Photo by Koby Brown Photography/Galveston Historical Foundation
A historic home on Broadway.
Photo courtesy of Lizzo

Superstar Lizzo comes home with 3 special tour stops in Texas this fall

Good as hell

Singer/rapper/flutist Lizzo's upcoming "The Special Tour" will include three stops in her native Texas.

The tour, which will hit 25 cities across North America in Fall 2022, will kick off on September 23 in Sunrise, Florida. Her Lone Star State stops will include a performance at Austin's brand-new Moody Center on October 25, a hometown return to Houston on October 26, and a night in Dallas on October 28. Atlanta rapper Latto will be the special guest on all dates.

The body-positive superstar has been on a roll in recent weeks, releasing "About Damn Time," the lead single off her forthcoming new album, Special, scheduled for release on July 15. She was also given the relatively rare honor of being both the host and musical guest for the April 16 episode of Saturday Night Live.

Lizzo made her debut on SNL in her breakout year in 2019, during which she released her platinum-selling third album, Cuz I Love You, which featured mega-hits like "Truth Hurts" and "Good As Hell." She went on to win three Grammy Awards in 2020, including Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Pop Solo Performance, and Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Fans who pre-save/pre-add Lizzo’s upcoming album at this link will receive early access to purchase tour tickets. The public on-sale date will be Friday, April 29 at 10 am on ticketmaster.com. American Express card members will have first access to purchase tickets before the general public beginning 10 am Tuesday, April 26 through 10 pm Thursday, April 28.

Lizzo is also teaming up with T-Mobile to give T-Mobile customers access to stage-front pit and lower bowl tickets at every U.S. tour stop, even at sold-out shows. Customers can get reserved tickets starting 30 days prior to each show at first-day prices.

Kevin Hart/Facebook

Comedian Kevin Hart brings ‘Reality Check’ to San Antonio on upcoming arena tour

laughing matter

Comedian Kevin Hart’s first major tour in over four years, The Reality Check Tour, will make a stop in San Antonio at AT&T Center on August 13.

Produced by Live Nation, Hart’s tour begins on July 2 and 3 with a two-night stay in Las Vegas, after which he will perform in over 30 arenas across North America, including dates in three other Texas cities: Houston on August 5, Austin on August 7, and Dallas on August 12.

Hart’s last visit to the state was in 2018, when he had stops in the four same cities in late October/early November.

“I am [hyped] as shit to go back out on tour,” Hart said in a February 14 statement. “There is nothing better than making people laugh. I can feel the energy in the venues like caffeine pumping through my veins. I’ve been cooking up something special and have thoughts I need to get off my chest. Go get your tickets and come ready to have a good night!”

Hart is known to be one of the few comedians who can consistently fill up arenas. His most recent global comedy tour sold out over 100 arenas and sold over 1 million tickets worldwide. He also had a hometown stand-up performance at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, marking the first time a comedian sold out an NFL stadium in Philadelphia.

Tickets for the tour go on sale 10 am Friday, February 18 at kevinhartnation.com. Fans will also have access to a special Live Nation presale beginning 10 am Wednesday, February 16 through 10 pm Thursday, February 17.

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San Antonio Missions hit home run with new owners, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio's minor league baseball team scores new owners, including Texas sports legends. San Antonio's minor league baseball team is back to being locally owned — by some big names.

2. H-E-B unveils new line of merchandise for super fans, available exclusively at this store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise, in celebration of its 117th anniversary and in honor of its first store.

3. San Antonio market continues to see prices going up and sales going down. San Antonio home sales dropped 19 percent from October 2021.

4. San Antonio Rodeo wrangles even more musical acts for star-studded 2023. Turnpike Troubadours joined the already impressive lineup for the 2023 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

5. San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays. Magik Theatre celebrates The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas story, with inclusive special performances.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

New self-guided tour showcases iconic Fort Worth Stockyards' many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years recently debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, which took place earlier this month in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.