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Texas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker

Texas Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker

Photo by Amitava Sarkar

Featuring dazzling choreography and exquisite sets, The Nutcracker celebrates the season with enchantment, snowflakes, and sweets. Experience the most magical Christmas tradition of the season as Clara and her Nutcracker Prince battle an army of mice and travel through a winter wonderland to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Kingdom of Sweets.

Ballet Frontier presents The Nutcracker

Ballet Frontier's annual production of The Nutcracker has a cast comprised of professional dancers, talented young students, dazzling costumes, and world-class choreography.

Photo by Steven Visneau

Texas Ballet Theater closes the curtain on its zany 'Nutty Nutcracker' after 12 seasons

Nutty No More

Texas Ballet Theater has broken the news that this year's performance of The Nutty Nutcracker, on December 16 at Bass Hall, will be its last after 12 seasons.

The Nutty Nutcracker is a one-night-only break in the middle of the run of the traditional Nutcracker production, offering an offbeat take on the holiday classic. Featuring hilarious characters and commenting on current events and pop culture, the production isn't afraid to make fun of the established original version.

While no official reason was given in a November 15 press release, the change comes as former artistic director Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., transitions into his new role as artistic director laureate. Acting artistic director Tim O’Keefe will take over the programming for the next season, marking a shift in the ballet company’s artistic vision.

However, the release does give the qualifier of "for the coming years" when noting the production's end, indicating that the company may be open to bringing it back sometime in future.

“We are sad to see this long-standing tradition come to an end at TBT, but we are excited for the future and look forward to starting new traditions that will be as fun for the audiences, and dancers, as Nutty,” O’Keefe says in the release.

No other changes are planned for Texas Ballet Theater's annual holiday events and productions. The Tutu Chic Fashion Show and Luncheon in Dallas, the Caren Koslow Fashion Show and Luncheon in Fort Worth, the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea, and the full five-week production of The Nutcracker will go on as planned.

Tickets for The Nutty Nutcracker, which range from $60-$130, are now on sale at texasballetheater.org or by calling the Box Office at 877-828-9200, option 1.

Uptown Revue Shimmy Show

The Uptown Revue Shimmy Show will feature singing, comedy, and burlesque performances by Penny Priddy, Northern Joy, Lucille Bombay, Cherry Antoinette, Sylvia Topley, and Lil Crispy. Guests can enjoy draft beers, classic cocktails, and concessions.

Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Fort Worth Botanic Garden presents Japanese Fall Festival

Fort Worth Botanic Garden presents Japanese Fall Festival

At the Japanese Fall Festival, guests can enjoy traditional Japanese dance, music, martial arts, sword demonstrations, raku, tea ceremonies, and more. The festival is located inside the historic Japanese Garden inside the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Photo by Chinh Phan FotoWerk Group

These are the 13 best things to do in Fort Worth this weekend

Weekend event planner

It's a pretty big weekend of events in and around Fort Worth, and that's not even counting making the trek to Dallas for the start of the State Fair of Texas. There are four concerts featuring huge names, the return of an award-winning pianist, three new local theater productions, a timely dance event, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, September 29

The Cliburn presents Yunchan Lim
2022 Cliburn Gold Medalist Yunchan Lim returns to Fort Worth for his much anticipated Cliburn Concerts debut. Yunchan’s performances at the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition this past June captured the hearts of not only the jury but the audience, as well. In addition to first prize, he won the audience award and best performance of a new work. While this performance at Kimbell Art Museum is technically sold out, those interested can be placed on the waiting list for tickets by e-mailing boxoffice@basshall.com or calling 817-212-4280.

Yunchan Lim Yunchan Lim won the 2022 Cliburn Competition.Photo courtesy of The Cliburn

Friday, September 30

Magnolia at the Modern: Loving Highsmith
Loving Highsmith is a unique look at the life of the celebrated American author Patricia Highsmith, based on her diaries and notebooks and the intimate reflections of her lovers, friends, and family. Focusing on Highsmith’s quest for love and her troubled identity, the film sheds new light on her life and writing. There will be seven screenings through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Theatre Arlington presents The Cake
Della makes cakes, not judgment calls - those she leaves to her husband, Tim. But when the girl she helped raise comes back home to North Carolina to get married, and the fiancé is actually a fiancée, Della’s life gets turned upside down. She can’t really make a cake for such a wedding, can she? For the first time in her life, Della has to think for herself. The Cake will play at Theatre Arlington through October 16.

Texas Ballet Theater presents Cirque du Ballet
Texas Ballet Theater presents Cirque du Ballet, a world premiere featuring an array of characters and choreography under the big top. Audiences will see favorite moments from ballets like Cinderella, Dracula, Swan Lake, and more. There will be five performances through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Elton John in concert
The "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour for Elton John has wound up being a lot longer than he intended. Starting way back in 2018, the tour was originally supposed to wrap up in 2021. But the pandemic took most of 2020 and all of 2021 off the board, and now the tour will last through at least July 2023. This concert at Globe Life Park in Arlington will be John's fifth appearance in Dallas-Fort Worth on the tour after four previous concerts at American Airlines Center.

Elton John - Houston Toyota Center - Farewell Yellow Brick Elton John's voice is in fine form. Photo by Jacob Power

Jubilee Theatre presents Plenty of Time
Plenty of Time is the story of two unlikely lovers, a spoiled rich debutante and a Black Panther. It is 1968, and despite Corey and Christina's obvious differences, they are sexually attracted and share a passionate night together. Over the next 33 years they continue to meet on the same annual date to continue their sometimes illicit affair, bringing their personal growth and experiences, as well as the influences of the ongoing social and political changes for African-Americans. The production runs through October 30 at Jubilee Theatre.

Hip Pocket Theatre presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Hip Pocket Theatre presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a spooky romp through an American fable, told with song and dance. Does Ichabod Crane know what he's getting into there in Sleepy Hollow? Do you? The production will run through October 30.

Hip Pocket Theatre Hip Pocket Theatre presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Photo by Sarah Sampson

Ned LeDoux in concert
Kids following in their parents footsteps has a long tradition in the entertainment industry, although few manage to outshine their mother or father. Ned LeDoux is the son of cowboy musician Chris LeDoux, whose work inspired Garth Brooks and others. Ned, touring in support of his new album, Buckskin, will play at Billy Bob's Texas.

Saturday, October 1

National Theatre Live: Straight Line Crazy
For 40 uninterrupted years, Robert Moses exploited those in office through a mix of charm and intimidation. He created parks, bridges, and 627 miles of expressway to connect the people to the great outdoors. Ralph Fiennes leads the cast in David Hare’s blazing account of the most powerful man in New York, a master manipulator whose legacy changed the city forever. This a screening of previously recorded live event will be at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Keith Urban in concert
It's been four years since country superstar Keith Urban played his one and only Texas tour stop in Dallas, and now he'll make his one and only Texas tour stop at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth. Urban is finally getting around to touring in support of his 2020 album, The Speed of Now Part 1. There's no news on when - or if - Part 2 is coming, but he has plenty of hits with which to entertain his many fans.

Tom Jones in concert
It's not unusual to know that Tom Jones is a legendary singer. Two years shy of his 60th anniversary in show business, the 82-year-old Jones has seen his career ebb-and-flow through the decades, from his peak in the 1960s to a downturn in the 1980s to a resurgence in the 1990s. His music remains part of the broader cultural landscape, something he'll prove at this concert at Billy Bob's Texas.

Sunday, October 2

Mary J. Blige in concert
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige has been presiding over her kingdom for 30 years now. Since her debut with 1992's What's the 411?, Blige has been a mainstay at the top of the charts, with 12 of her 14 albums reaching the top 10 on the Billboard 200. She released her latest album, Good Morning Gorgeous, earlier this year to critical acclaim, and now she'll perform at Dickies Arena as part of a national tour, with support from Queen Naija and Ella Mai.

Mary J. Blige, Houston Rodeo 2013 Mary J. Blige will perform at Dickies Arena on October 2. Photo by © Michelle Watson CatchLightGroup.com

Monday, October 3

Performing Arts Fort Worth and Texas Ballet Theater present Kyiv City Ballet: A Tribute to Peace
Moving a bit past the weekend for this one-night-only special event presented by Performing Arts Fort Worth and Texas Ballet Theater. The day before Ukraine was invaded in February, the Kyiv City Ballet unknowingly took one of the last flights out of Kyiv, and they have not returned home since. Part of a new tour for the company, their first performances in the United States, the only tour stop in Texas will include a mixed repertory from Texas Ballet Theater.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Lightscape' shines bright in this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.

3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

Texas parks beckon throughout 2022 holidays with festive events and peaceful escapes

If roasting ‘smores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Avoid the Black Friday madness with the 15th annual “Walk-off the Bird” Bird Walk, a 2.1-mile walk by the lakeshore at 9 am November 25. Bring your binoculars to relax and enjoy the bird life of the East Texas Pineywoods. At 2 pm the same day, enjoy a Fall in the Savannah fall foliage hike. Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive from November 25 to December 19. Come back December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 a.m. December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Walk off your Thanksgiving Day meal and explore nature in the cool fall air during the three-mile Thanksgiving Nature Walk 7:30-9 a.m. November 26. Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm. December 17.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
The park’s annual Gobble Till You Wobble hike November 25 has been canceled due to predicted rains. However, you can still follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 a.m. to noon December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 am. to 3 pm November 26 to explore how early Texans at the Sauer-Beckmann Farm got ready for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas tree; learn how to make wreaths out of local cedar and dip candles as the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am to 2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
Take a Giving Thanks Guided Hike and learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 3-4 pm November 26. On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 p.m. December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm. December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2 to 5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Livingston State Park
Learn about your favorite Thanksgiving food (the turkey) during Campfire Turkey Talk on November 26. Rangers will cover the history of Thanksgiving, the habits and behaviors of wild turkeys, and share interesting facts about turkeys, including how it nearly became our national bird.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
Pack your Thanksgiving leftovers and hike 1.5 miles up to Aztec Caves during the park’s Turkey Trot at 11 am November 25. On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park 6-8 pm December 10.

Affluent Fort Worth neighbor leads list of lavish holiday spending budgets in U.S.

Santa Baby

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.

According to the personal finance website, the average holiday budget in Flower Mound is $3,531 per person, the third highest in the nation.

The town's 2021 population of 77,243 (per the U.S. Census) boasts a median income $139,703 and earlier this year was named by Ventured.com as the richest city in Texas.

In spite of an increase over last year's gift list totals, Flower Mound dropped to the third spot after being ranked No. 1 last year with a budget of $3,427. Newton, Massachusetts (budget $4,233) and Palo Alto, California (budget $3,920) edged out the Texas city this year.

Flower Mound was the only Texas city in the top 10, but there's plenty of holiday cheer to be found in the report, and not just for Flower Mound Santa fans.

Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 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.

Despite nationwide focus on inflation strains, holiday spending is expected to be healthy, and higher than last year.

"The seeming social upheaval in recent times may lead households to spend more in an attempt to take some control of the environment which they can control," says Robert Wright, University of Illinois, Springfield professor emeritus who was among five experts consulted for advice about holiday shopping.

This could be good news if your Christmas wishes are on local shopping lists. Eight other North Texas cities landed in this year's top 100 heftiest holiday budgets:

  • Allen, No. 17 , $2,670
  • Frisco, No. 37, $2,150
  • McKinney, No. 45, $2,070
  • Plano, No. 50, $1,999
  • Carrollton, No. 55, $1,837
  • Richardson, No. 58, $1,823
  • North Richland Hills, No. 81, $1,658
  • Lewisville, No. 90, $1,630

Fort Worth landed at No. 366 with a budget of $890, while Dallas landed at No. 401 out of 558 cities with an average holiday budget of $845.

Elsewhere in Texas, spending in the Austin area won't be ho-hum with the Capitol City's budget of $1,705 ranked at No. 78. Two Austin suburbs, Cedar Park (budget $2,855) and League City (budget $2,541) ranked 14 and 20, respectively.

Santa's bag could be a mixed bag in the Houston area with three suburbs in the top 100, but the urban center falling behind:

  • Sugar Land, No. 15, $2,793
  • Pearland, No. 36, $2,172
  • The Woodlands, No. 71, $1,733
  • Houston, No. 366, $890

Things don't look too jolly for San Antonio, ranked at No. 431 with an average budget of $803 or Pharr, which was the lowest ranked city in Texas.

At No. 553 with a budget of $487, the Rio Grande Valley city came in just a few spots ahead of last place Hartford, Connecticut, with a budget of only $211.