Photo courtesy of Hot Luck Fest

Road trip alert: A celebrity-studded food and music festival in Austin — helmed by award-winning chef and pitmaster Aaron Franklin — is getting all fired up for its jubilant return this Memorial Day weekend, and every ingredient of the four-day fest, from the musical entertainment to the chefs and tantalizing bites, is guaranteed to be red-hot.

Hot Luck Fest, the annual food and music experience that has been on hold for the past couple years because of the pandemic, will flare back up May 26-29 at a variety of Austin spots and with plenty of juicy offerings for festivalgoers to sink their teeth into.

Individual tickets and weekend passes for Hot Luck Fest are available for purchase at hotluckfest.com.

Founded by James Beard Award winner Aaron Franklin of in-demand hot spot Franklin Barbecue, as well as Mohawk owner James Moody, and Mike Thelin, cofounder of Feast Portland, Hot Luck Fest is specifically designed to highlight the best chefs, cooks, and musicians from all over the country and beyond. A couple of Dallas chefs are set to take part (see list, below).

Hot Luck Fest is also a charitable event, with this year’s fest benefiting the Southern Smoke Foundation, the non-profit founded by Chris Shepherd that supports food-and-beverage industry workers nationwide.

“Super stoked that we’re able to bring Hot Luck back this year. I’ve invited a whole lot of my homies to come down to Austin to cook,” Franklin says. “We’ve all been through a lot in the last year and a half, and it’s going to be fun to all get together and catch up and help our friends at Southern Smoke, who continue to serve our industry unfailingly.”

While daytime events feature all the chef-y bites every foodie craves, in the evenings, Hot Luck Fest shifts its focus to music, with live performances at some of Austin’s most iconic clubs, including Mohawk and Antone’s. And ticket prices for music shows start at only $10.

This year’s performers include Superchunk, Shannon and The Clams, DJ Jazzy Jeff with DJ Mel, Cam Cole, Joe Marcinek Band featuring George Porter Jr., and more.

Here’s the rundown of this year’s Hot Luck Fest events:

Thursday, May 26, 6-9 pm
The Giddy Up: Mohawk
The festival lights up with a Thursday night industry pizza party, which will include savory pies, as well as sweet treats from Whole Foods and Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar. Sets from DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Mel will follow the food event. The chef lineup for The Giddy Up event includes:

  • Chris Bianco, Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix)
  • Elias Cairo, Olympia Provisions (Portland, Oregon)
  • Fermin Nunez, Suerte (Austin)
  • Fiore Tedesco, L’Oca d’Oro (Austin)
  • Joe Beddia, Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia)
  • Mike Diaz, Oseyo (Austin)
  • Rebecca Masson, Fluff Bake Bar (Houston)
  • Reem Assil, Reem’s (Oakland, California)

Friday, May 27, 7-10 pm
Hi, How Are You?: Franklin Barbecue

This extravagant east side event is a backyard-style get-together that will feature the man himself, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, as well as other acclaimed chefs, bites and sips, and a whole lot of extravagance that culinary nerds can totally geek out to. The chef lineup for the Hi, How Are You? event includes:

  • Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue (Austin)
  • Amanda Shulman, Her Place (Philadelphia)
  • Andrew Taylor, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)
  • Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner (Raleigh, North Carolina)
  • Arlin Smith, Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)
  • Chris Shepherd, Underbelly (Houston)
  • Erin Smith, Feges BBQ (Houston)
  • Jordan Rubin, Crispy Gai (Portland, Maine)
  • Kristine Kittrell, The Diner Bar (Austin)
  • Laura Sawicki and Mei Lin, Nightshade (Los Angeles)
  • Misti Norris, Petra and the Beast (Dallas)
  • Patrick Feges, Feges BBQ (Houston)
  • Shota Nakajima, Taku (Seattle)
  • Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Canje (Austin)
  • Todd Duplechan, Lenoir (Austin)
  • Tyson Cole, Uchi (Austin)

Saturday, May 28, 7-10 pm
Al Fuego: Wild Onion Ranch

Al Fuego is Hot Luck’s celebration of live-action, flame-fueled cooking styles and features a showcase of the “most inspiring food on the planet.” As fest organizers note, if you’ve ever wondered what chefs cook for their friends in their own backyards, this fiery shindig is for you. The chef lineup for the Al Fuego event includes:

  • Alon Shaya, Saba (New Orleans)
  • Amanda Rockman, South Congress Hotel (Austin)
  • Ashleigh Shanti, Good Hot Fish (Asheville, North Carolina)
  • Brad Leone (New York City)
  • Bradley Nicholson, Lutie’s (Austin)
  • Carlo Lamagna, Magna Kusina (Portland, Oregon)
  • Casey Wilcox, Little Trouble (Lockhart)
  • Christopher Schaefer, Geraldine’s (Austin)
  • Colin Yoshimoto, Eem (Portland, Oregon)
  • Davis Turner, Huckleberry (Austin)
  • Dawn Burrell, Late August (Houston)
  • Diego Galicia and Rico Torres, Mixtli (San Antonio)
  • Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop (Dallas)
  • Earl Ninsom, Eem (Portland, Oregon)
  • Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria (Austin)
  • Evan LeRoy, Leroy and Lewis Barbecue, (Austin)
  • Jakub Czyszczon, Garrison (Austin)
  • James Wilson, East Austin Hotel (Austin)
  • Jeremy Charles, Raymonds (St. Johns, California)
  • John Tesar, Knife (Dallas)
  • Jori Jayne and José Enrique, José Enrique (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • Jules Stoddart, Olamaie (Austin)
  • Kareem El-Ghayesh, KG BBQ (Austin)
  • Kevin Fink, Hestia (Austin)
  • Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House (Nashville)
  • Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf (New Orleans)
  • Matt Horn, Horn Barbecue (Oakland, California)
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie (Austin)
  • Nicola Blaque, The Jerk Shack (San Antonio)
  • Ravi Kapur, Liholiho Yacht Club (San Francisco)
  • Rick Lopez, La Condesa (Austin)
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde (Chicago)
  • Shane Stark, Mongers (Austin)
  • Shota Nakajima, Taku (Seattle)
  • Stuart Brioza, The Anchovy Bar (San Francisco)
  • Susana Querejazu, Lutie’s (Austin)
  • Todd Pulsenelli, Hotel Chloe (New Orleans)
  • Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel, Birdie’s (Austin)
  • Yoshi Okai, Otoko (Austin)
  • Zak Pelaccio (Hudson Valley, New York)

For more info about this year’s Hot Luck Fest, visit hotluckfest.com and follow Hot Luck on Facebook and Instagram.

Courtesy of Tesla

Tesla revs up for vehicle production at new billion-dollar Texas factory

Car news

The wait is nearly over. Within the next several days, Tesla reportedly will start production of electric vehicles at its new Texas factory, just east of Austin.

Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who tracks Tesla, wrote in a January 8 research note that based on the firm’s analysis, “it appears paperwork is now clearing the way for Model Y production starting over the next 7-10 days.” Several media outlets have reported on Ives’ research note.

“Launching the Austin production in early January is very important to Tesla expanding both domestic and global production of Model Ys, which are set to have a massive year in 2022,” Ives writes.

In 2021, Tesla delivered 936,172 vehicles, up 87 percent from the previous year. The vast majority of those vehicles were the almost identical Model Y and Model 3.

Ives anticipates Musk will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Texas factory in the coming weeks. He notes that the plant “is becoming the centerpiece of Tesla’s broader supply ambitions, as well as its formal HQ buildout.”

Construction of the manufacturing plant, dubbed Gigafactory Texas, began in July 2020. Last month, Tesla officially relocated its headquarters from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Austin factory.

On December 16, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the $1.1 billion factory would represent a long-term investment of at least $10 billion, generating over 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs. Musk previously said the plant would create 5,000 jobs and potentially 10,000 jobs.

The Austin factory is eventually supposed to manufacture three vehicles: the Model Y, a midsize SUV; the Cybertruck, a pickup truck; and the Semi, an 18-wheeler. Musk has said the Model Y should become “the bestselling vehicle of any kind globally.”

Tesla already makes vehicles at its plants in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China. The automaker’s new factories in Texas and Berlin will enable it to essentially double production capacity, according to Barron’s.

10 bachelorette party ideas that marry wellness and revelry in Austin

Party On

Austin has become the must-hit destination for Texas bachelorette parties. Any night of the week there are gaggles of women (the so-called “Bride Tribe) from around the state traipsing down Dirty Sixth or Rainey Street, one with a white sash encrusted with rhinestones and tiara in hand, ready to take on the night.

While going out for a drink (or two) can be quite fun, especially during a bachelorette weekend getaway, here are a few ideas if you’re looking to take a more wellness-focused approach.


Take a shot — 9 am
If flying, arrive at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and head to JuiceLand on Cesar Chavez Street for a quick stop before checking into the hotel. Order the Noni to Fear shot (includes noni, a beauty-enhancing favorite of model Miranda Kerr; apple cider vinegar; lemon; turmeric; living B vitamins; and sea salt) for a boost of energy and the fresh-pressed Recovery Punch to get rehydrated after the flight. Snack on one of JuiceLand's bowls for an energizing breakfast on-the-go.

Self-care is the best care 10 am-1 pm
Check into the JW Marriott, drop your bags, and hit the spa. There’s no better way to start off a health-conscious bachelorette weekend than with some quality self-care. The JW offers spa buyouts for bridal groups of eight to 20-plus so you’ll have total privacy as you relax. Pop a bottle of Champagne (it’s all about balance, right?), enjoy a JW classic 50-minute massage and get wedding-ready.

A light lunch 2 pm
It wouldn’t be a proper vacation without incredible food. Head to Koriente, located just off Sixth Street, where the dishes are made with minimal-to-no sugar and oil. Dig in for late lunch of shitake tofu, Koriente curry, or teriyaki chicken that will have you feeling your best all day long.

Get outdoors — 4 pm
Austin is the ideal place to get outside. Head to Lady Bird Lake for some afternoon paddleboarding, or hike up Mount Bonnell for some prime Instagram photo opportunities and watch as the sun sets over the city.

A Paleo Picnik — 7 pm
Even if no one in your group follows the paleo lifestyle, they’ll sure to love North Austin’s Picnik. The creamy queso (made with cashews) served with Siete Family Foods' almond flour tortillas is a solid way to start the meal. For entrees, order up the fish tacos, Picnik Cobb, or turmeric-crusted cauliflower steak — all of which are delicious.


Skip the fancy breakfast— 8 pm
Sleeping in is vital for optimal health so catch a few extra Zs and order room service for the ultimate lazy morning at the JW Marriott.

Hit the bar(re) — noon
Meet up for a private class at Barre Code in downtown. Sweat out any toxins from the night before and feel empowered from the full-body workout. Down some coconut water as you leave the studio to refuel.

Mix it up with healthy cocktails— 2 pm
After a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up, take a Lyft to the Squeezery at The Refinery on Brazos Street for a healthy cocktail mixology class. Order the matcha cashew or avocado vegan gelato bowl while you’re at it for the ultimate afternoon treat.

Shop local, shop well — 4 pm
After relaxing from the cocktail course, head out for some late afternoon shopping at some of Austin’s hippest wellness boutiques like Take Heart, which is now located next to Hillside Farmacy on E. 11th Street, for stunning ceramics imported from Japan, all-natural body products, and handmade candles. Walk down the block to Tiny Taiga for healthy trinkets and energy readings.

A worthy ending — 8 pm
Before heading back to reality, enjoy your last meal in town at Suerte, one of America’s best new restaurants. This east side spot's dreamy interiors are perfect for the final Instagram snap of the weekend, and the cocktails are almost as lauded as the cuisine. The carne asada, chicken roulade, and grilled sweet potatoes are a must, and top the meal with a Mexican coffee.

Photo by Melissa Gaskill

New choose-your-own-adventure bike tour pedals past Austin's best murals

Art in the Streets

Some of the great things about Austin include the city's amazing street art, bike-friendliness, and good food. Texas Bike Tours recently combined those into customizable, guided bike tours that Austin visitors will want to add to their must-do list.

Every TBT tour begins with riders filling out a detailed form about riding abilities and desires. And almost anything goes. In the past, the team has provided overnight tours and even one that ended with a multicourse dinner overlooking Lake Travis.

Guests can bring their own bikes or TBT arranges rentals. The team personally tests every route and creates a detailed proposal and price, along with special additions such as keeping a rental bike another day or having TBT pick up and return bikes to the shop.

TBT founder Deaton Bednar teams up with various bike shops and guides, based on where a tour starts and what riders want to see and do. “The overriding thing in all this is that I want people to ride bikes,” says Bednar, an avid rider. “I try to remove any barriers to making them happy while they ride and give them something they can talk about while making good memories.”

No two Texas Bike Tours are exactly the same, and our recent mural tour is no exception.

“I create the experience you want to have, whatever you want to have happen,” says Bednar. “In this case, a guest let us know she was interested in a tour with some friends of murals around the city, and a bike is one of the best ways to see some of these works of art. We selected some of the murals she was aware of and others that she wasn’t, plotted out the best route and then tested it out.”

Our customized tour began at Mellow Johnny’s and Bednar served as the guide for the six riders. She gave a brief history of each piece and explained the difference between murals, street and yard art, and graffiti (no spoilers, sorry). The group crossed the river to ponder a set of murals on Barton Springs Road including "Guide Me Home" and a piece depicting a mermaid and a whale by Yoskay Yamanoto and Tatiana Suarez.

The route then wound through Travis Heights with stops at the “Welcome to Austin” postcard mural on the wall of Roadhouse Relics, a mural on Mi Casa Gallery, the "Willie for President" mural on Stag Provisions for Men, and Vicki’s Wall, part of New Orleans-based artist Candy Changki's “Before I Die…” project, which debuted during SXSW 2014.

At the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge in Stacy Park, the driving force behind the mosaic project, Ave Bonar, greeted the group while TBT culinary experience director Barbara Gibson served slices of homemade quiche before riders headed to the east side.

Stops in East Austin included a mural on Oni Tattoo called "Woman in Waves" and "Girl with Coffee," both by Austin-based Roshi K, and the latter of which appears on the side of the former Fast Folks Cyclery (commissioned during SXSW 2016). We then pedaled past mosaics on East First Grocery, done as part of the Pay Phone Revival Project, and "Day Dreaming” by Seraphim-One (Sarah Ponce) and Levi Ponce on the side of Cenote.

Gibson served a snack before the group headed back downtown, making a stop at the Native Hostel and Bar & Kitchen’s "These Walls Bring Us Together" along the way. The mural at Fourth Street and I-35, commissioned for SXSW 2018, is part of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery relocation campaign. The tour ended with dessert at Republic Square Park.

While the tour lasted more than three hours, the murals it included represent a mere fraction of the many gracing Austin walls. This could be the beginning of something beautiful.


Daydreaming mural Austin
Photo by Melissa Gaskill

5 little restaurants that beckon for a detour on a Texas road trip

Travelin' Texas

Texas is filled with hidden treasures. The next time you're on a road trip and find yourself in Central Texas, driving from about Austin to Houston, bypass the Buc-ee's (we know it's blasphemous) and make a celebration of your roadside meal. From charming favorites to unexpected hidden gems, these spots are worth the detour.

R Place at Washington-on-the-Brazos
23254 FM 1155 E., Washington, Texas
You may recognize this spot from elementary school field trips to see Independence Hall at Washington-on-the-Brazos. After peeking into pioneer tents, touring the museum, and seeing where Texas was founded, you’re hungry. Good thing there is a 100-year-old grocery store turned barbecue joint adjacent to it, because there’s not much else in the area. Eight miles from Navasota and 20 miles from Brenham, R Place is a drive, but well worth it.

Road bikers and car clubs stop in frequently, as well as many local ranchers proud of this quiet joint, which seats up to 40 on Saturday night with reservation-only prix fixe fare. Recent menus included a brie and pesto starter; ribeye steaks with garlic mashed potatoes (proprietor Randy Rogers, also a chef, turns them on the back grill where he also smokes the brisket); and grilled salmon with a bow tie pasta in a caper cream sauce. His beer and wine menus don’t disappoint, and he makes the huge peach cobbler from scratch, as he does the pinto beans and German potato salad (read: more tart than rich). It would be un-Texan to not serve Blue Bell ice cream, and the restaurant pairs it with cobbler to please tourists and die-hards alike. Open only on weekends.

JW’s Steakhouse
122 S. Hauptstrasse St., Carmine, Texas

Steakhouses in Texas are as common as Tex-Mex joints, but don’t take for granted the quality of an otherwise unassuming mom-and-pop establishment — brown panel walls and casually dressed patrons included. JW’s Steakhouse has zero pretense and better quality than most (yes, I said that) higher brow joints in big cities, and it even boasts a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Just up the road from wonderful Round Top, it’s a great halfway point between Austin and Houston on 290 in Carmine — and the perfect end to an antique hunting adventure.

Try homemade onion rings, a certified Angus bone-in ribeye steak with baked potato and side salad, or chicken-fried steak and a vegetable of the day — all great values. Open Tuesday -Thursday from 11 am-9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Hit the Spot Cafe
5121 Albert Brown Dr., Garfield, Texas

Located just east of Austin in the Garfield Community Library, this is a community center/breakfast joint that stays open for lunch. (Customers kept begging, so the owners obliged.) This has long been a favorite of locals camping out along the Colorado River east of Austin and those who want to avoid all the pomp and circumstance of downtown $12 eggs (and where a side of sausage is extra, tsk-tsk!). If you just want great service, great value, and a smile, Hit the Spot Cafe will welcome you, no matter how fancy your shoes are.

With chicken-fried steak, homemade tortillas and carne guisada, and homemade biscuits for breakfast served all day, this is one secret we hate spilling the beans about. Open Monday-Thursday from 6 am-3 pm, Friday from 6 am-9 pm, Saturday from 6 am-3 pm, and Sunday from 7:30 am-3 pm.

Front Room Wine Bar
116 Main St., Smithville, Texas

If you find yourself anywhere near Highway 71 East and I-10, you’ll have an opportunity to duck into Smithville, as it’s just off the highway. The sweet town will delay you though, so allow time; Smithville's antique shops and restaurants are incredibly charming.

Weekly sushi? Yep. Margarita specials? Yes. This place screams Texas — plus it skips the screaming TVs in every corner typical of so many cafes. While you don’t expect refinement just off a town square, the warmth of the staff keeps it cozy as they inspire you to try a new region of wine or entice you with a fancy cocktail, crab cakes, or oysters on the half shell paired with Italian prosecco. Open Wednesday and Thursday from 5-10 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5-11 pm.

96 West
103 S. Baylor St., Brenham, Texas

If you know anything about Brenham or Chappell Hill, you love them. Both towns — separated only by a few miles — bring antique lovers from all over Texas, and Brenham's town square has at least a dozen shops to peruse. A new reason to get to Brenham, though, is 96 West, a fantastic tapas-style restaurant and wine bar also right on the square. Serial proprietors and locals Tami Redshaw and Edward Smith III opened the restaurant about a year ago with amazing specials, brunch worth brunching for, and craft beer.

Smith is the unofficial sommelier, and it’s best to go on a night when he’s pouring. Order a hand-selected rose paired with mushroom flatbread, and you won't believe you’re in a small town. They use ingredients from local farms whenever possible, and with better soil east of Austin than west, it’s a true farm-to-market town. The Home Sweet Farms Market Artisan Cheese Plate, stuffed chicken breast, and Asian quinoa salads please the health foodies, and chicken-fried steak and frites keep the locals fueled. Open Wednesday and Thursday from 4-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-10 pm, and Sunday from 11 am-3 pm.

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Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott champions kindness at 2023 Beacon of Hope Luncheon

Mental health advocacy

What: Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon

Where: Omni Dallas Hotel

The 411: About 700 attendees gathered to cheer on Grant Halliburton Foundation's mission to support adolescent mental health - and to cheer on their favorite Dallas Cowboys quarterback. Dak Prescott, along with Solomon Thomas of the New York Jets, delivered messages of hope at the 14th annual fundraising luncheon on March 7.

Both players use their platforms off the field to raise awareness about mental health and suicide through their foundations.

Andy Adler, CBS 11 sports anchor and children’s rights activist, interviewed Prescott and Thomas on stage. Both shared the seemingly simple message to "be kind." They demonstrated why it's so important from their personal experiences.

Prescott has been open about his own mental health challenges. His Faith Fight Finish Foundation was established as a tribute to his mom, Peggy, who died of cancer in 2013, and its work also honors his brother, Jace, who died in 2020 by suicide.

"Depression and anxiety can overwhelm you. I realized that during the first month of COVID. Sunny days felt dark, and my big house and yard felt small and closed in," Prescott said from stage. "We have the obligation to take care of ourselves and neighbors. Help your neighbors and loved ones ... We have hope. React in a healthy way.”

Similarly, Thomas (a Dallas native) lost his sister, Ella, to suicide in 2018 and co-founded The Defensive Line with his parents, Martha and Chris Thomas (who were in attendance). Their organization focuses on mental health and suicide prevention.

"We must treat ourselves as human beings and others as human beings. Ask people not how they are doing, but how are you really doing," Thomas urged, adding, "Vote and identify candidates who care about mental health. We have to make sure our kids have support in schools. We didn’t see widespread support 10 years ago.”

Local students joined Prescott and Thomas on stage to ask questions before Halliburton Foundation president Kevin Hall presented theprestigious Beacon Award to both players.

Steve Noviello of FOX 4 News served as the master of ceremonies for the luncheon, which followed a champagne reception where guests took part in mental health activations, viewed and purchased raffle packages, and listened to DJ Lucy Wrubel keep the beat lively.

This year's luncheon chairs were the Conly family — Jeanie and Bert Conly and their children, Lindsey and Aaron Berg, Mark Briscoe, and Kendall and Luke Cagle; Barb Farmer is the founding luncheon chair. Vanita Halliburton spoke about the organization she co-founded after losing her son Grant to suicide 17 years ago.

For more information about the Grant Halliburton Foundation and resources they offer, visit their website.

Who: Kaileigh Johnson, Misaki Collins, Rama Vangipuram, Neera Truong, Judy Rawle, T.J. Griffin, Polly Campbell, Bev Berry-Vuckovich, Susan Griffiths, Lucy Witte, Sonya Parker Goode, Norman Goode, Julia Butler, Amy McCloskey, Dave Farmer, and hundreds more.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon, Dak Prescott

Photo by Simon Luna

Dak Prescott greets high school students during a backstage lunch before going on stage.

Willie Nelson receives prestigious honor and inaugural endowment at Texas university

Willie forever

Willie Nelson has earned countless awards for his seven-decade music career, but the legend is also well known for his activism — particularly in the areas of farming and food security. In recognition of his longtime advocacy work, the LBJ Foundation will present its highest honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award to Nelson this spring.

The award will be presented at a special gala tribute dinner on Friday, May 12, 2023, which in turn will benefit the newly established Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of The University of Texas at Austin.

According to a release, the endowment will fund research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.

Along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, Nelson organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise funds for struggling farmers, which has since raised over $70 million for those who own and operate family farms throughout the United States. He has also helped raise millions around disaster relief, for families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and for veterans, as well as working toward environmental and animal advocacy, and voting rights. His Luck Family Foundation provides financial grant assistance and other resources to artists, organizations, and programs in need, donating proceeds from Luck Reunion events to Farm Aid and other longtime charity partners like the Texas Food & Wine Alliance.

“Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans," says Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, via release. "A product of rural Texas, Willie has never forgotten where he comes from. His longtime efforts to raise money and awareness for family farmers through Farm Aid and numerous other endeavors to help those in need throughout his career make him a true inspiration.”

The dinner will honor Nelson's lifelong support for rural communities, embodying President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commitment to public service, particularly in the areas of farming and food security. With their similar backgrounds as rural Texans, both President Johnson and Nelson shared a keen awareness of the struggles of those who work in the agricultural industry.

“The bounty of the earth is the foundation of our economy," President Johnson shared in a 1965 Special Message to Congress on Agriculture. "Programs in every aspect of our nation’s life depend on the abundant harvests of our farms.”

ATTPAC's 2023-24 Broadway season overflows with Tony-winning titles

Season Announcement

Familiar titles populate the Broadway at the Center 2023-24 season lineup at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. And within these mostly classic musicals, there are 16 Tony, 20 Drama Desk, one Outer Critics Circle, and one Grammy award winners.

New this season are some pre- and post-show events, including pre-show Facebook Live viewings, post-show talkbacks, afterparties, themed photo opportunities, themed bar drinks, and more.

“We are so excited to bring in this new season of shows with fan favorites on the best stage in North Texas for Broadway,” says Warren Tranquada, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “We are also delighted to share our new campus activations we will have before and after shows in the 2023-2024 season that will let patrons embrace and invest in the Center’s new offerings.”

This is also the fifth year of the partnership between Broadway Dallas and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, where certain Broadway Dallas shows are presented at the Winspear Opera House. In 2024 that means five weeks of Hamilton, with subscribers to both ATTPAC and Broadway Dallas given priority access to score tickets.

And now without further ado, here is the season:

The Cher Show — Superstars come and go, but Cher is forever. For six straight decades, only one unstoppable force has flat-out dominated popular culture — breaking down barriers, pushing boundaries, and letting nothing and no one stand in her way. The Cher Show is the Tony Award-winning musical of her story, and it’s packed with so much Cher that it takes three women to play her: the kid starting out, the glam pop star, and the icon. This is the show that caused a sequin shortage in New York City, thanks to all the Bob Mackie-designed, Tony-winning gowns it showcases. It run December 14-16, 2023.

Annie — Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner, and now the best-loved musical of all time is set to return in a new production — just as you remember it and just when we need it most. It runs March 14-16, 2024.

Chicago — After 25 years, Chicago is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one show-stopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. No wonder Chicago has been honored with six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy, and thousands of standing ovations. It runs April 4-6, 2024.

Shrek the Musical — “Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek....” And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Yes, your favorite ogre is back in the hilarious stage spectacle based on the Oscar-winning, smash hit, DreamWorks animated film. The Tony Award-winning stage version features songs from Jeanine Tesori (Kimberly Akimbo; Caroline, or Change), a sidesplitting book by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Kimberly Akimbo), and brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life. It runs July 18-20, 2024.

That's the main season, with the option to add on these shows:

MOMIX Alice — Seamlessly blending illusion, acrobatics, magic, and whimsy, MOMIX sends audiences flying down the rabbit hole in Moses Pendleton’s newest creation, ALICE, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland. “I don’t intend to retell the whole Alice story,” Pendleton says, “but to use it as a taking-off point for invention.” Join this dazzling company on a mind-bending adventure as Alice encounters time-honored characters including the undulating Caterpillar, a lobster quadrille, frenzied White Rabbits, a mad Queen of Hearts, and a variety of other surprises. It runs September 22-23, 2023.

CIRQUE MUSICA HOLIDAY WONDERLAND — Igniting joy and wonder like never before, Wonderland is an all-new musical journey that transports audiences to a magical land far away for a fun-filled, holiday-themed show experience. Be dazzled by the acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks, and holiday cheer. The show blends the spellbinding grace and daredevil athleticism of today’s greatest circus performers with a musical mix of timeless seasonal favorites. It runs December 22-23, 2023.

Jagged Little Pill — Joy, love, heartache, strength, wisdom, catharsis, life — everything we’ve been waiting to see in a Broadway show — is here in the exhilarating, fearless new musical based on Alanis Morissette’s world-changing music. It's directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Waitress, Pippin, 1776) with a Tony-winning book by Diablo Cody (Juno). It runs January 12-14, 2024.

Hamilton — This is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theater, a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s acclaimed biography. Presented in partnership with Broadway Dallas, it runs May 8-June 9, 2024.

Subscription packages go on sale Friday, March 31, with single tickets available closer to the opening of each show. Four-show subscription packages range from $95 to $595 and may be purchased by phone at 214-880-0202, or online at www.attpac.org/broadway.