The spirit of Danny Joe Brown remains alive and well in Kansas City. So sayeth Federation of Horsepower, whose amped-up Seventies Southern rock debauchery is both hot and nasty. Co-headlining locals Chris Gates & Gatesville proved equally versed in blues-driven coliseum rock and lump-throated Americana pathos on 2010’s Welcome to Gatesville. The group’s namesake and Big Boys/Poison 13/Junkyard vet’s guitar duels with Tony Redman and hard-earned rasp reek of insurrection. Screeching San Antonio quintet the Heroine and Houston’s Ese open. – Greg Beets
Southern rock draws lines at genre, not bombast. Grunge-era Fort Worth foursome the Toadies began at post-punk and brought it back to the future with this summer’s Play.Rock.Music. Volcanic New Orleans institution Cowboy Mouth exorcises roots-rock demons behind drummer/singer Fred LeBlanc, most recently on This Train .... The former performs “almost acoustic,” then fully plugged, hosting guests from Rise Against, Quiet Company, Ume, and Will Johnson. The Mouth goes apeshit at Antone’s. Pick y’all’s poison. – Raoul Hernandez
This Japanese children's tale about magical forest creatures is from the magisterial Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away).
10AM, Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek, 13729 Research
The Vortex and Circus Chickendog team up to present this trained-animal homage to Tchaikovsky's classic for the holidays. It's family-friendly, all right, but it's not just for the kiddies: These are antics that even grown-ups will be delighted by, as the talented Darren Peterson goes all out with juggling, unicycling, giant bubbles, rope tricks, and puppets – as abetted by his circus dogs and a performing macaw. Thu.-Sun., Dec. 27-30, 5:30 & 7pm; Thu.-Fri., Jan. 3-4, 7pm; Sat., Jan. 5, 5:30 & 7pm. $10-30 ($5-15, kids)
The Vortex, 2307 Manor Rd., 512/478-5282
Here's a retrospective of work by your Arts Listings editor, Wayne Alan Brenner, featuring pen-and-ink drawings, altered and embroidered cloth, screenprints, mixed-media works, and a new 4-by-6-foot portrait of Philip K. Dick in acrylics. Maybe check in and see what this fellow who's been writing about the scene for years can actually do, artwise, himself? Through Dec. 30.
Are the kids starving for activity in their school-deprived vacation? Let the Nature & Science Center give them a day of science learning, outdoor exploration, and playing. For kids ages 5-11. Dec. 24, 26, 27, 28, 31, Jan. 2, 3, & 4, 8am-5pm. $45 per day.
Features an exhibition by artist Paul Pfeiffer and a display of James Naismith's 1891 document the Original Rules of Basketball. You won't want to miss this in-depth and historical look into the sport of basketball. Runs through Jan. 13, 2013.