Photo courtesy of Farrah Fawcett Foundation

Hollywood icons and angels descended on Dallas for the second year, for the 2023 Farrah Fawcett Foundation Tex-Mex Fiesta.

Held at The Rustic on September 28, the star-studded benefit included a red carpet, Tex-Mex buffet dinner, award presentations, live auction, and margaritas that flowed all night long - all to raise money for the fight against cancer. Proceeds went to The American Cancer Society/Cattle Baron's Ball and Stand Up To Cancer.

Co-chairs Alana Stewart, Jaclyn Smith, and Linda Gray - the late Farrah Fawcett's bestie, Charlie's Angels co-star, and last year's Angel Award winner, respectively - welcomed guests. Then actor and famously tanned man George Hamilton took over to emcee the presentations with his signature charm, wit, and sweet banter with ex-wife Stewart.

Dr. Lawrence Piro, Fawcett’s former oncologist and Chief Medical Advisor for the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, underscored the importance of the evening’s fundraising efforts. Fawcett passed away from rectal cancer in 2009, at the age of 62. The foundation that bears her name and raises money for cancer-related causes is her greatest legacy, her friends agreed on stage.

A live auction led by Samantha Robinson of Heritage Auctions raised thousands of dollars with one-of-a-kind items like lunch with George Hamilton the following day at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (sold for $10,000) and a "Hollywood Experience" including lunch with "The Fonz" Henry Winkler (sold for $14,000).

Country music star Brett Eldredge got the crowd on its feet with a quick set of his hits, and DJ 13lackbeard kept the party beats lively. Actress Dyan Cannon gave a heartfelt tribute, and Patrick Foley - Fawcett’s long time friend, make-up artist, and Neiman Marcus’ resident make-up artist - was recognized for his support of the Foundation.

But the emotional highlight of the evening was the presentation of the foundation's 2023 Angel Award to Katie Couric. The trailblazing journalist famously underwent a colonoscopy on air after her husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer at age 42 in 1998. In September 2022, Couric revealed her own breast cancer diagnosis.

In her acceptance speech, Couric spoke poignantly about all the things the cancer took away from her two daughters, who were just 2 and 6 years old when their dad passed.

"I know what it's like to lose someone you love way before their time," she said. "In two words: It sucks ... devastating, life-shattering, horrific. No adjective sufficiently describes what that period of my life was like."

She encouraged people not to "get squeamish" about "cancers that occur below the belt" (referring specifically to rectal and colon cancers).

"I've always said, 'Don't die of embarrassment,'" she said. "You know, if we're lucky, we all have colons, we all have anuses, it's just part of our biology, so let's get real about that, people."

After Couric's colonoscopy on The Today Show, the number of people who got screened increased 20 percent, she said.

"But that statistic means so much more," she said. "It means that so many people got to watch their child score a goal at a soccer game, so many people got to watch their child graduate with honors, so many people got to watch their child walk down the aisle."

She said she often wonders what Farrah and Jay would be doing today.

"Honestly, I get so sad and so mad when I think about everything [her daughters] have missed," she said. "We couldn't save them, but we can use every ounce of our energy to spare others from a similar fate."

Among the patrons there to support the event were actress Donna Mills, designer Cynthia Rowley, John Tatum, Jim Foley, Christine Romeo, Jeffrey Lane, and hundreds of generous Dallasites.

Farrah Fawcett Foundation Tex-Mex Fiesta 2023

Photo courtesy of Farrah Fawcett Foundation

Jaclyn Smith, Alana Stewart, Katie Couric, Linda Gray

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DFW family's Christmas light spectacle celebrates Rangers' World Series win

Holiday home run

A Haltom City family didn't just light up with joy when their beloved Texas Rangers won the World Series — they lit up their whole house for the holidays. The Gonzalez family's annual Christmas light spectacle, known as "Wisdom Way Lights," this year pays tribute to the Rangers' 2023 World Series victory.

Highlights of the 10,000+ light interactive display include clips of the final out of the game projected on an LED screen on the garage; skeletons donning jerseys of famous Rangers players; a dancing Rangers captain; and of course, the words "Texas Rangers" and "World Series" illuminated in red, white, and blue.

Jesse and Angela Gonzalez and their kids put the display up quietly in mid-November, but the response has been anything but quiet. Videos posted to their TikTok and Instagram accounts quickly spread across social media and attracted the attention of a few local TV news crews.

Jesse Gonzalez says they're averaging about 100 cars of spectators each night. Unfortunately, none of their visitors has included anyone from the Texas Rangers organization, as far as he knows.

"That would be amazing," he says.

Rangers fans have only a few more days to get in the game, as December 1 will be the last night for the Wisdom Way World Series display.

Then the family will switch to a "Super Mario Bros." themed show, based in the most recent movie, along with two more traditional Christmas lights shows. All three will run concurrently until January 1, they say.

Visitors can view the shows from from their cars and listen to the audio on radio channel 89.7 FM.

The Gonzalezes have put up a larger-than-life, interactive lights displays since 2012, annually making CultureMap's list of The Best Christmas Lights in Dallas-Fort WorthBest Christmas Lights in Dallas-Fort Worth.

This is not the first time the Wisdom Way Lights (named for the street the family lives on) has brought them a bit of fame and a lot of traffic on their street. In 2020, their Selena-themed display attracted crowds from near and far.

They chose a Selena theme that year because Angela was a big fan of the Tejano superstar, they said then. Choosing the Texas Rangers as this year's theme was a win for the whole family.

Angela and Jesse's first date was to a Rangers Game, and they got engaged at a Rangers game a year later.

"We normally do Christmas lights each year kind of based on the trends," Jesse recently told NBC 5.

"But this was not just a regular trend, this was extraordinary for us because we've been waiting for this for a decade," Angela added, referring to the Rangers' World Series title.

The Wisdom Way Lights are at 4521 Wisdom Way, Haltom City, 76117. The lights are on nightly from 6-11:30 pm, until January 1, 2024. (Rangers display ends December 1.) They're free to visit. Follow Wisdom Way Lights on Facebook for updates.

Hot Houston hotel deals guarantee a merry and bright vacation this holiday season

Home For the Holidays

It's the time of year when downtown Houston transforms into a shiny, sparkly, magical holiday wonderland, and you won't want to miss it.

Ready to experience the magic of the holiday season in Houston? Here's what to see and where to stay.

City Lights Downtown Holiday Magic
Take a stroll through 11 themed holiday villages, which encompass everything from life-sized chocolate sculptures to the state's biggest mistletoe to ice skating under the stars.

Grab a free ride from village to village in one of the festively decorated pedicabs provided by Downtown Houston+. Locate the holiday pedicab pickup stations at Discovery Green, Lynn Wyatt Square, POST Houston, Trebly Park, and Market Square Park.

For a nominal fee, guests can ride in a holiday-decorated double-decker trolley to five downtown stops: Trebly Park, Heritage Society, Avenida Houston/Discovery Green, Market Square Park, and POST Houston.

You'll also want to pick up a holiday passport from Market Square Park, Trebly Park, or Heritage Society for the chance to win awesome prizes, including a downtown holiday staycation package with a one-night stay at Hotel Icon, four tickets to a Theater District performance, and four tickets to a Houston Rockets game.

Happy hotel deals
Whether you're in town on vacation or keeping it close for a staycation, you'll want to bookmark these incredibly festive hotel offers.

Marriott Marquis Houston
Experience Texas Winter Lights at Marriott Marquis Houston at the Altitude Rooftop & Pool, famous for its Texas-shaped lazy river. Through December 31, 2023, it is transformed into an interactive light experience with thousands of twinkling lights and winter-themed activations. Guests can enjoy immersive light displays from 5-10 pm nightly.

The basic experience is complimentary for all hotel guests, but if you want a real VIP experience, upgrade your experience at Texas Winter Lights with promo code HOL, which includes VIP access to Texas Winter Lights for up to four people (including the brand-new interactive experience, the Virtual Reality Ride), $25 food and beverage credit, and upgrade to the pool-view guest room.

Hilton Americas-Houston
Get into the holiday spirit with the ´Tis The Season package, which includes a daily breakfast buffet, one complimentary Green Mountain Energy Ice ticket for ice skating at Discovery Green next-door, and a child’s treat upon arrival. Valid through January 28, 2024.

Hallmark enthusiasts will be enchanted by Hilton’s most festive collab of the year: an incredible partnership with Hallmark Channel to bring guests the most joyous, fun, and fabulously decorated two-bedroom Hallmark Holiday Suites. Inspired by the original Hallmark holiday movie premiere of Haul Out The Holly: Lit Up, these festive suites feature jaw-dropping holiday designs and light treatments throughout, including a holiday village, a gingerbread and cocoa bar, takeaway holiday gifts, and more (through December 31, 2023).

Other holiday offers at Hilton Americas-Houston you might want to checkout include Breakfast, Parking & WiFi: Enjoy your getaway with a full breakfast buffet for two, self-parking for one car, and WiFi; Park & Stay: Get daily parking each night of your stay; Experience the Stay: With an on-property credit and additional perks, like premium WiFi and early check-in.

Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Houston Getaway offer, valid for selected dates and with a minimum two-night stay, includes 20 percent off the room rate along with valet parking.

With Residents Retreat Package, you receive 10 percent off the room rate, daily full American breakfast for two served at Toro Toro or through in-room dining, and valet parking for one vehicle. Proof of Texas or Louisiana residency is required at check-in.

Advance Purchase allows you to save up to 25 percent on the room rate when you book your stay at least seven days in advance.

Don’t forget to visit The Spa and get a Peppermint Peace Massage, available only through the holiday season, to revitalize, hydrate and brighten the skin. You will also receive a travel-size peppermint scrub as a gift to continue the holiday spa experience at home.

C. Baldwin
With a Short & Suite package at the urban-chic C. Baldwin hotel, enjoy 15 percent off the best available rate for any of the suites and relish in the comfort of a sophisticated stay. And if you are traveling with your furry friend, check out the Pet Package — it includes waiving the pet fee, delicious treats, and complimentary overnight parking.

Hotel ZaZa Houston Museum District
For an exotic and unforgettable party on December 31 (10 pm-2 am), reserve the NYE at ZaZa package. It includes overnight accommodations, two NYE party wristbands at check-in, and New Year’s Day elevated brunch for two guests per room, including mimosas and more.

Dress to impress in your best cocktail attire and dance to today’s hottest hits. Enjoy wine, beer, and cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, decadent activations, heightened experiences and spectacular entertainment, and a lavish midnight countdown and bubbly toast. NYE party and brunch are exclusive to overnight guests of Hotel ZaZa.

Westin Collection - Houston Galleria
You don't even need to leave the building to shop in one of the largest malls in America, if you stay at The Westin Oaks Houston at The Galleria or The Westin Galleria Houston, two hotels directly attached to The Galleria mall, Houston's most celebrated retail and dining destination with over 400 stores, 70 of which are unique to the Houston area.

Through December 31, both hotels offer the Holiday Shop-cation Getaway, which includes deluxe accommodations, complimentary Wi-Fi, free valet parking, and a $50 gift card to use at the mall. Use promo code ZJL when booking.

JW Marriott by The Galleria
Make precious family memories with the Indoor Ice Skating package at the completely renovated JW Marriott Houston by The Galleria. In addition to luxury overnight accommodations and complimentary self-parking, you'll receive two tickets for admission to the indoor skating rink at The Galleria Mall along with vouchers for skate rental. Use promo code 11P (valid until December 11, 2023).

The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa
Perks & Presents package (available through December 30, 2023) lets you step into a magical wonderland this season, with twinkling trees, splendid décor, Houston's largest mistletoe kissing ball, and a Merry Mansions gingerbread house display above the Great Room Lobby's 30-foot fireplace.

Enjoy holiday entertainment by the fire, a menu of delectable holiday cocktails, and a collectible Kitty Keller ornament to hang on your tree. This holiday package includes specially priced guest room accommodations, two complimentary holiday themed cocktails at The Bar at The Houstonian per stay, a hand-painted glass Merry Mansions holiday ornament ($36 value), complimentary transportation to The Galleria and River Oaks District for holiday shopping and dining, complimentary holiday coloring books and crayons for children in-room, complimentary self-parking, late check-out on Sunday if applies to stay, and access to the exclusive Houstonian Club with three temperature-controlled pools. No resort fees and convenient 48-hour cancellation policy.

Hotel Zaza Memorial City
Hotel Zaza Memorial City, a haven of oversized, well-appointed accommodations — including Concept Suites and The Magnificent Seven Suites — and thought-provoking art, has created the perfect Winter Wonderland Spa Package to treat yourself after an incredibly busy year.

Indulge in a 120-minute session featuring a hot stone massage to help you relax and ease tense muscles, and a holistic facial to give your skin a pleasant refresh (available through December 22, 2023).

The Moran CityCentre
Located at the heart of one of Houston’s favorite shopping, dining, and lifestyle destinations, The Moran CityCentre is offering its Citycentre Steakation Package. This special offer includes a $100 restaurant gift card for every night of your stay. Use your gift cards at The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, or Yard House, all steps away from the hotel, and experience the vibe of CityCentre.

Blossom Hotel Houston
This new hotel, inaugurated in February 2022, is located near Texas Medical Center and NRG Stadium. Stay two-plus nights and receive 15 percent off with the Stay Longer & Save Package.

Texas residents enjoy 10 percent off the best available rate plus two welcome drinks in the lobby lounge with Texas Resident Rate offer. A Valid Texas ID is required at check-in. Suite Promotion allows you to receive a one-time $100 food and beverage credit when you book a three-night stay in one of the luxurious suites.

Explore this Houston Hotel Guide and more hotel deals in Houston.

Unprecedented round of new concerts headed to Dallas in early 2024

Concert News

Concert season is alive and well for 2024, with a bounty of tours in the works for spring and early summer.

Eight major tours were announced on November 28, featuring a variety of well-known acts, from iconic rappers to seminal rock guitarists. The majority will perform not only in Dallas but also in Houston and Austin, with dates listed below.

If it seems a little early to start thinking about what concerts you'll be seeing in the spring, keep in mind that tickets for nearly all of these shows will go on sale December 1. They're hoping to catch you before you spend all your hard-earned money on Christmas gifts. (Or maybe some of these shows will be Christmas gifts?)

Tickets for each concert can be found at Ticketmaster.com.

Here are eight newly-announced concert tours coming to town, in chronological order:

Mac Saturn
Detroit pop-rockers come to Texas as part of their 2024 North American headline tour in support of their debut album, Hard To Sell. Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • February 19 - House of Blues in Houston
  • February 20 - House of Blues in Dallas

Hombres G
Dubbed "the Latin Beatles," this Spanish rock band, which formed in Madrid and has a career spanning 40 years, comes to Texas as part of their U.S. tour. Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • March 8 - Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land (outside of Houston)
  • March 9 - The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving

Mariah the Scientist
Emerging R&B singer comes to Texas as part of her world tour in support of her new album, To Be Eaten Alive. Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • March 22 - House of Blues in Houston
  • March 23 - Scoot Inn in Austin
  • March 24 - House of Blues in Dallas

Busta Rhymes
Iconic and influential rapper comes to Texas as part of his headlining run in support of his new album, BLOCKBUSTA. Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • March 24 - South Side Ballroom in Dallas
  • March 26 - Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin
  • March 28 - 713 Music Hall in Houston

Soulful Grammy Award-winning artist comes to Texas on The Good Life Tour, a 27-city odyssey following her No. 1 Billboard chart-topping sensation, "I Need To Know." Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • April 6 - Bayou Music Center in Houston
  • April 7 - Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas

Set It Off
Rising rock band comes to Texas as part of The Deathless Tour. They've released five albums in their career, most recently Elsewhere in 2022. Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • April 25 - House of Blues in Dallas
  • April 26 - Emo's in Austin
  • April 27 - House of Blues in Houston

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai
Two legendary guitarists come to Texas as part of The Satch-Vai Tour, marking the first time that the longtime friends have toured as a duo-bill. They are also collaborating on new music, with plans to release just before the tour launches in March. Tickets go on sale on December 1.

  • May 3 - ACL Live in Austin
  • May 4 - Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas
  • May 5 - 713 Music Hall in Houston

Rock band led by Jack Antonoff comes to Texas as part of a summer-long U.S. leg of their From The Studio To The Stage tour, in support of their new album, simply called Bleachers. Tickets go on sale on December 8.

  • May 31 - Moody Amphitheater in Austin
  • June 1 - White Oak Music Hall Lawn in Houston
  • June 2 - South Side Ballroom in Dallas