Deck the halls with nutcrackers, holiday concerts, drag queen superstars, major movie releases and more. Here’s a taste of what to expect in November and December. For weekly roundups of your best bets, subscribe to our Brickly and Flavorillo newsletters.
Festival Día de los Muertos: The Amarillo Council for the Latino Arts will stretch out the Day of the Dead for nearly a week with its first Latin-American arts festival, featuring a Nov. 1 movie night, a Nov. 2 cultural celebration, a Nov. 3 parade along Polk Street, and a Nov. 4 grand finale featuring folklorico dance, art and more in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Auditorium. Other events include Amarillo artist Delores Maldonado’s annual Día de los Muertos art exhibition Nov. 2 at Pondaseta Brewing Co.; Amarillo Museum of Art’s annual Christmas Roundup shopping expo Nov. 3-5 in the Civic Center Complex; the 28th Working Ranch Cowboys Association World Championship Ranch Rodeo from Nov. 9-12 in the Civic Center Coliseum; Pondaseta Brewing Co.’s fifth-anniversary party Nov. 10-12; Panhandle AIDS Support Organization’s annual Turnabout drag fundraiser on Nov. 11 at the Arts in the Sunset; the Tidings of the Trees fundraiser Nov. 16 at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon; and the After Gobble Wobble holiday hike Nov. 24 at Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Plus, root on the Amarillo Wranglers hockey team at home games Nov. 2-3 and 17-18.
The Boys in the Band: Amarillo Little Theatre tackles this classic gay drama about a birthday party that goes terribly wrong, to be staged Nov. 9-19 in the ALT Adventure Space. Other arts highlights for the month include the Harrington String Quartet on Nov. 3 at West Texas A&M University’s Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall; WT horn, percussion, jazz and brass ensemble concerts Nov. 5, 7, 9 and 12, all in Northen Recital Hall; the Amarillo College Piano Series on Nov. 7; WT Dance’s Falling into Dance concert Nov. 16-19 in the Happy State Bank Studio Theatre; Amarillo Symphony’s Brahms & Bluegrass mashup concerts Nov. 17-18 in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts; WT Concert and Symphonic Band concerts Nov. 29 in Northen Hall; and WT Opera’s Amahl and the Night Visitors performances Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex Recital Hall.
Los Tigres del Norte: The superstar Mexican family band returns for a major show Nov. 25 in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Auditorium. Other concerts include J.D. Clayton on Nov. 2, David Ramirez on Nov. 9, 9 Eyes and Tanner Lane on Nov. 10, Seth Ward & The Silence on Nov. 11, Felix & Fingers Dueling Pianos on Nov. 17-18, and Cody Jasper on Nov. 25, all at Hoots Pub; rapper Paul Wall and others in the Amarillo Takeover Music Fest 2 on Nov. 4 at Hacienda La Grandeza; Aiden Logsdon on Nov. 4, The Huser Brother Band on Nov. 10, Parker Ryan on Nov. 11 and Palmer Anthony on Nov. 18, all at Golden Light Cantina; and the Unity in the Community music festival Nov. 10-11 at Hodgetown.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth star in this prequel to the Hunger Games quadrilogy, showing the game’s early days and major developments. Other film releases include artsy biopic Priscilla on Nov. 3; the latest MCU film, The Marvels, on Nov. 10; animated sequel Trolls Band Together and horror flick Thanksgiving on Nov. 17; and comedy drama The Holdovers, historical epic Napoleon and animated musical Wish on Nov. 22. Special screenings will include Titanic: The Musical on Nov. 4 and 8; The Last Waltz on Nov. 5; Scarface on Nov. 12 and 15; X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X on Nov. 18; and Saving Private Ryan on Nov. 19 and 20.
A Drag Queen Christmas: More top stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race bring holiday cheer and love, love, love back to the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts for a Dec. 21 tour stop. Other major events include Center City of Amarillo’s Electric Light Parade on Dec. 1 in downtown Amarillo; comedian Steve Treviño on Dec. 8, also in the Globe-News Center; children’s show Blippi the Musical: The Wonderful World Tour on Dec. 13 in the Civic Center Auditorium; and the Northside Toy Drive’s Black Tie Affair on Dec. 15 in the Civic Center Heritage Room. Plus, don’t miss Amarillo Wranglers hockey on Dec. 8, 9, 30 and 31.
Aaron Watson: The hometown boy brings his family to town for his first major Christmas tour, hitting town Dec. 1 in the Globe-News Center. Other major concerts are set to include Texas country star Bart Crow on Dec. 1 at Hoots Pub; Jacob Stelly on Dec. 1, Amarillo native and guitar whiz Rodney Branigan on Dec. 2, and Slade Coulter on Dec. 8 at Golden Light Cantina; K-Love’s Celebrate Christmas tour with Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey and Mac Powell on Dec. 16 in the Civic Center Auditorium; and Amarillo guitarist Hayden Pedigo at the Globe-News Center on Dec. 23.
Happy Holiday Pops: Ring in the Christmas season with Amarillo Symphony’s annual holiday show, with performances set for 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in the Globe-News Center. Other arts events to mark on your calendar include Amarillo Little Theatre Academy’s Prancer from Dec. 1-10 on the ALT Mainstage; soprano Alisa Jordheim on Dec. 1 at Amarillo Country Club for Amarillo Opera; Lone Star Ballet’s The Nutcracker from Dec. 8-10 in the Civic Center Auditorium; and WT Chamber Singers holiday concert Dec. 2 and WT Symphony Orchestra’s Music of the Christmas Season on Dec. 3, both in Northen Recital Hall.
Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé: The era’s other culture-defining musical force gets in on the concert film act on Dec. 1. Other film releases will include wild romance Poor Things and animated film The Boy and the Heron on Dec. 8 (limited); musical Wonka on Dec. 15; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom on Dec. 20; comedy drama American Fiction, romantic comedy Anyone But You, sports drama The Iron Claw and animated film Migration on Dec. 22; and musical The Color Purple and sports biodrama The Boys in the Boat on Dec. 25. Special screenings include Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Dec. 3 and 6; Max Lucado’s Because of Bethlehem Dec. 5-7; Waitress: The Musical from Dec. 7-11; and A Christmas Story 40th-anniversary screenings on Dec. 10 and 14.
Ms. Pioneer: Statewide Honor for M.D. Oliver-Eakle
Iconic Amarillo leader to be inducted in Women’s Hall of Fame
Maps of the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle region were still emblazoned with “No Man’s Land” when Melissa Dora Oliver first visited the area in 1890. Little more than a decade later, she had begun transforming Amarillo into a major metropolitan hub.
This month, this trailblazer—better known as Melissa Dora Oliver-Eakle—will be celebrated as a pioneering woman by the Governor’s Commission for Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Nov. 9.
“I really wanted to make sure that at least one woman from this region was nominated for the Hall of Fame, and Beth Duke wrote a great letter,” says Amy Henderson, a vice president and business loan officer for Amarillo National Bank and member of the Governor’s Commission for Women. “Because of that, the commission decided to make this new pioneer award, and that’s a really big deal.”
The commission will celebrate Oliver-Eakle during a cocktail hour before the awards dinner, which will honor Leta Andrews, the late Mary Horn, Val LaMantia, Opal Lee, Lavinia Masters, Antonietta Quigg, the late Charlotte Sharp, and Elizabeth Suarez. To attend with other Amarillo residents, contact Henderson at 806-378-8205.
If it weren’t for Oliver-Eakle, Amarillo a century after her time might look quite different, say both Henderson and Duke, executive director of Center City of Amarillo.
“It feeds my soul to read about these pioneers,” Duke says. “These are the people who invested in those early, early years of Amarillo, and we are still reaping the benefits of their vision. It took a lot to have the vision to make this little Panhandle railroad stop into a major city.”
An Alabama native, Melissa Dora Callaway was born in 1860 and graduated from Georgia Female College in 1879. She married William Oliver, the principal stockholder of Mississippi Mills, the south’s largest textile manufacturer in 1884. After he died in 1891, she moved to Amarillo, where her brothers were living; a few years later, she married Amarillo businessman O.M. Eakle.
Melissa Dora Oliver-Eakle started investing in Amarillo from the start, though often, she had to hide her identity.
“Many times, she used her initials [M.D. Oliver] because people didn’t want to do business with women,” Duke says. “It’s interesting that she was so far ahead of her time.”
“I can’t even imagine,” Henderson says. “Here you are, a wealthy, successful businesswoman, and men didn’t want to do business with her.”
In addition to the neighborhood she platted—now known as the Plemons-Eakle Neighborhood, a National Register historic district—Oliver-Eakle was responsible for building or financing a raft of stores, offices and skyscrapers, many in the signature Pueblo Deco style, that remain standing today.
Central to her legacy was Amarillo’s first skyscraper, a 10-story beauty that opened in 1927 as the Oliver-Eakle Building. Twenty years later, it was renamed by her grandson, Bourdon Barfield, as the Barfield Building. Today, after being closed for decades, it once again is a centerpiece of downtown Amarillo—a luxury boutique hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a finalist for Best Renovation/Restoration award from Texas Downtown Association.
“She would be so proud of the Barfield and so proud that it has again become a jewel in our downtown,” Duke says. “I think she’d be amazed.”
Oliver-Eakle’s influence went beyond real estate, though. She helped finance the original Amarillo Opera House and also helped establish the Amarillo Tri-State Fair, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. She encouraged her niece to run a book drive to benefit Amarillo’s public library, as well.
“I really wish I could go back in time and interview her,” Duke says. “She had a mind for business and a vision as a developer, and she realized that with the railroad, Amarillo was going to be the capital of the Panhandle area. That vision is something very few people had. She saw land and real estate was the way to grow wealth and the way to make the city grow, and I think her vision has panned out.”