Luck Presents: Lucktoberfest

Luck Presents: Lucktoberfest

Photo by Derrek Kupish

Luck Presents will host the inaugural Lucktoberfest, a 10-day community celebration of Texas. More than 20,000 guests will come together for diverse and unique music, food, and artisan experiences fusing the cultural patchwork of everything every Texan holds dear.

Lucktoberfest is the crown jewel of Luck Presents’ 10th anniversary year, a true celebration of all of the communities that make Texas what it is. Not unlike Willie himself, Texas prides itself on bringing all walks of life together - from honky-tonk hooplas to traditional Mexican celebrations - and Lucktoberfest will take that all to the next level.

Each night of Lucktoberfest will be anchored by a specific theme, with headliners and activities for all.

  • Friday, October 28: A Texas-Sized Kickoff Celebration Featuring: Paul Cauthen’s Big Velvet Revue
  • Saturday, October 29: Outlaw Masquerade Ball Featuring: Orville Peck
  • Sunday, October 30: Prost, Y’all! “Luck-Oktoberfest” Featuring: Alex Meixner and Friends
  • Monday, October 31: LUCK-O-LANTERN Halloween Family Night Featuring: A Special Matthew Logan Vasquez and Friends Spooktacular
  • Tuesday, November 1: Día De Los Muertos Experience Featuring: Los Lobos and More
  • Wednesday, November 2: The Black Opry Revue Featuring: Fantastic Negrito
  • Thursday, November 3: Luck Night Market Featuring: Sasami
  • Friday, November 4: Desert Roses Queer Southern Glamour: A Fashion and Variety Show
  • Saturday, November 5: Sweethearts and a Rodeo With Tanya Tucker, Sierra Ferrell, and Nikki Lane
  • Sunday, November 6: Bloody Mary Morning: A Luck-style Send-off and Brunch Festival with Bob Schneider and Shiny Ribs

Lucktoberfest benefits the Central Texas Food Bank through the Luck Family Foundation where $1 from each ticket sold to this year's event goes directly to working hand-in-hand with setting a goal to hit at least 100,000 meals with this year's program.

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Broadway In Austin: Blue Man Group

Broadway In Austin: Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group returns to Austin for a limited engagement on their new North American tour. It’s everything you know and love about Blue Man Group - signature drumming, colorful moments of creativity and quirky comedy - the men are still blue but the rest is all new. Featuring pulsing, original music, custom-made instruments, surprise audience interaction and hilarious absurdity, the Blue Men present a joyful experience that unites audiences of all ages.

Photo courtesy of Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire in concert

Reba McEntire in concert

Reba McEntire comes to Fort Worth as part of the Reba: Live in Concert tour. McEntire has released over 25 albums in her career, including 2019's Stronger Than the Truth.

Photo courtesy of EarthLight Foundation

EarthLight Foundation presents Space Cowboy Ball

EarthLight Foundation presents Space Cowboy Ball

In its 5th year, the Space Cowboy Ball is part awards ceremony, part live music, and part DJ dance party. Past winners and attendees include Jeff Bezos, Robert Rodriguez, Richard Garriott, cast members of the Expanse, and more. As part of the New Worlds space conference, participants will be be hitting the floor with real Spacers, and having the best time on (or off) planet Earth.

The ball is a high-end charity masquerade event supporting the EarthLight Foundation's STEAM space education project for under-included students.

Photo courtesy of Blue’s Clues & You! Live On Stage

Blue’s Clues & You! Live On Stage

Blue’s Clues & You! Live On Stage

Blue’s Clues & You! Live On Stage is a brand-new theater production based on the hit preschool television series Blue’s Clues & You! Featuring all the beloved characters from the series, including Blue, her friends Magenta, Rainbow Puppy, and more, this new original musical adventure will have kids of all ages singing and dancing in the aisles.

Featuring an all-new story crafted by Blue’s Clues co-creator Angela C. Santomero, Blue’s Clues and You! Live on Stage features an array of distinctive puppets and puppetry techniques, as well as intricate scenic design utilizing LED video screens to transport audiences through moments and worlds unique to Blue and her friends. Families will also enjoy a mash-up of fan-favorite music from the television series and a lineup of brand-new original songs.

Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas

Make-A-Wish ® Central & South Texas present Austin Over the Edge

Make-A-Wish ® Central & South Texas present Austin Over the Edge

Make-A-Wish of Central and South Texas will once again present their Over the Edge event.

Make-A-Wish ® Central & South Texas creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. These kids show us daily, the courage needed to face extraordinary circumstances. Now they challenge participants to face their fears, catch their breath, step up to the edge, and rappel from one of the tallest high-rise buildings in downtown Austin.

Each year, more than 550 children in central and south Texas are diagnosed with a critical illness. They are on a quest to bring every eligible child's wish to life, and with your help, they can. The first 200 individuals to raise a minimum of $1,500 will earn a spot to go Over The Edge for Make-A-Wish®. All money raised by Make-A-Wish ® rappellers goes to granting the wishes of children with critical illnesses.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin Pets Alive and Austin Animal Center launch $31 pet adoptions for the holidays

New home for the holidays

Two Austin organizations are looking to get local pets into their "furever" homes this holiday season. In a special December promotion, Austin Pets Alive! (APA) and Austin Animal Center are working to get as many animals out of the shelter as possible, by making all adoption fees a flat $31.

The promotion runs December 1-31. According to a release, APA's director of lifesaving operations, Stephanie Bilbro, sees this as a great opportunity to clear out the shelters and make a great impact heading into 2023.

“The holidays are a great time for the Austin community to come together and add to their families. We have so many precious kittens, puppies, cats, and dogs just waiting for their turn to find a family,” said Bilbro. “We hope this is a chance for any family who’s been looking to add a pet to theirs to do so right in the middle of the holiday season. We know Austin is in the upper echelon when it comes to animal welfare. We hope this promo sets us and AAC up for a successful end to 2022 and a fast start going into 2023.”

Both shelters are also seeking fosters and volunteers throughout the holiday season, for Austinites looking to help the shelters without making a long-term commitment.

APA has two locations, one at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., and one in Tarrytown (3118 Windsor Rd.). Both locations operate 12-6 pm daily, except Christmas Eve (12-4 pm), Christmas Day (closed), and New Year’s Eve (12-4 pm). The Austin Animal Center is located at 7201 Levander Loop and is open every day from 11 am-7 pm for adoptions. For holiday hours, AAC will be closing at 5 pm on December 23 and will be closed December 24-26.

'Famous' rooftop igloos return to Austin hot spot for the coolest experience this winter

Stay Cool

There aren’t so many winter wonderlands in Austin during the holiday season, but things get colder at higher elevations. The Hotel Van Zandt fourth-floor rooftop may not be high enough to change the weather, but visitors throughout December are invited to hang out in its self-proclaimed "famous" all-weather igloos, snacking on bites from inside and themed cocktails after the sun goes down.

Each private, six-seat igloo at the “South Pole” contains a Christmas tree, board and card games, festive records, and other cozy holiday decorations. It’s as private as Austin dining gets without completely breaking the bank, but the poolside mini-village of transparent igloos creates a warm feeling of togetherness. And in case it actually does get cold (a Christmas miracle!), the vinyl globes are heated.

It's not just a fun gimmick — as cute as the igloos are, Geraldine's is a great foodie destination. Visitors can expect (strong) drinks like the “Dandy Andes,” a minty chocolate mix of Grey Goose vodka, crème de cacao, crème de menthe, and matcha tea. “Santa on a Beach” combines tropical flavors with cinnamon, and other drinks include unusual ingredients like Chartreuse whipped cream, pistachio, and chocolate mole bitters.

Geraldine’s menu focuses on classic Southern cuisine without getting weighed down by tradition; that means a roster of semi-adventurous gourmet comfort foods, like mole birria short ribs, smoked carrots, and salty Brussels sprouts with serranos and mint. Shareables are a good idea, since the igloos are intimate (read: not especially convenient unless you like balancing a dinner plate on the couch).

Two rounds of two-hour seating will be available every night, and reservations will go very fast. As of December 5, there are only a few dates left. Reservations ($100 upfront) entail a $200 minimum on food and beverage, plus a 20 percent service charge. Book on Eventbrite.

Acclaimed Texas chef toasts the Italian liqueur that's perfect for the holidays

The Wine Guy

Editor's note: Long before Chris Shepherd became a James Beard Award-winning chef, he developed enough of a passion for wine to work at Brennan's of Houston as a sommelier. He maintains that interest to this day and covers it regularly in a column for CultureMap's Houston site. Here, he talks not about wine, but the perfect after-dinner sip.

All right, team! Listen up! I’m going to give you some very important holiday information to help you get through all of the parties, family gatherings, and large festive dinners. We are not going to talk about wine today. We’re going to talk about another love of mine — the life-saving amaro.

What is amaro, you ask? It’s an Italian herbal liqueur that’s traditionally consumed post-meal as a digestif. Think of it this way: you start your meal with an aperitif — could be a martini, Campari, or Aperol spritz — to get your palate going and your body ready to eat. After dinner, amaro will help you get through the rest of your night. This elixir will magically and quickly break down everything you just consumed.

Most amari are from Italy, but fortunately new producers with similar styles are popping up all over the world. Some are sweeter, some are more bitter. You just have to find the style you like. Producers don’t traditionally tell you what’s in their amaro, because most of them are made up of dozens of herbs and spices. It’s all about trial and error to find the one you love.

I drink it neat, but some people drink it on the rocks. More and more, you’re seeing amari in cocktails, too.

The amari selection at our house is awesome. My wife and I are firm believers in this beverage as a night cap, and it’s even become part of my regiment pre-dinner as a spritz. Kill two birds, you know?

Unfortunately, not a lot of restaurants carry multiple amari, so it’s up to you guys to get this trend moving. The more you ask for it, the more they’ll stock it.

Our No. 1 go to at home? Montenegro. It’s easy to find, and it’s easy drinking. It has flavors of vanilla and orange, but it’s not too sweet and not too bitter. It’s had the same recipe since 1885, and I hope they never change it.

My wife’s favorite is Braulio. This spirit is from the Italian Alps and aged in Slavonian casks. Using more medicinal herbs and fruits means it skews more bitter than Montenegro, but it has a nice sweetness at the end.

A newish player in the amari game is Amaro Nonino. The Nonino family is historically one of the best grappa producers in the world — they’ve been distilling grappa since 1897 — but they didn’t start to produce their namesake amaro until 1992. (By newish, you get what I mean.) It has lots of honey, vanilla, licorice, and orange flavors. It’s a tad less sweet than most, but I think it’s fantastic.

Pasubio is really different from other amari. If you’re a fan of blueberries, this is for you. It literally tastes like crushed blueberries.

The next two are really cool and unusual, because they're made here in the U.S. An all-time favorite is Southern Amaro from High Wire Distilling Co. in Charleston. Yaupon is one of the main characteristics, which is found all over Texas.

High Wire built its reputation on using regionally grown and foraged ingredients. If you’re ever in Charleston, you should stop into the distillery and say hi to Scott and Ann! Also, try some of their Jimmy Red Corn whiskey. Actually, everything they make is delightful.

Heirloom Pineapple Amaro is made in Minneapolis. To me, this is fantastically bitter but also tastes like roasted pineapple in a glass. One of my new favorites, for sure.

Now, here’s a helpful tidbit of info. You may have heard of fernet. That’s a general term for an amaro with very little to no sweetness. Branca is a producer that makes fernet, and it’s the most well-known. Search out others as well, because they’re all pretty cool.

Almost everything I listed can be found at most liquor stores. Don’t be afraid to try something. Yes, sometimes it tastes like taking your medicine. But I’ll bet the smell of Jägermeister penetrates your early 20s, and surprise — that’s a style of amaro as well.