With an ego matched only by his producing and rapping skills, West has been the center of public attention since he broke onto the scene ten years ago with The College Dropout, still arguably his best album. West has been especially busy recently, defending his decision to name his daughter North, stirring up controversy on Twitter, and promoting his latest album, modestly titled Yeezus. His Toyota Center date marks his first visit to Houston since he unsuccessfully attempted to project a music video on the wall of the Rothko Chapel in May. With special guest Kendrick Lamar.
Dec 7 at 8. $39.50–150. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St. 713-758-7200. houstontoyotacenter.com
Although he’ll always be known to some people as Larry McMurtry’s son, James long ago carved out an identity for himself as one of the country’s greatest singer-songwriters. With a novelist’s eye for detail and characterization—it must run in the family—McMurtry’s songs tell the stories of ordinary people struggling to make a living in a hard world.
Dec 6 at 7 & 9:30. $28. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk St. 713-528-5999. mcgonigels.com
Gerald Clayton Trio
Born in the Netherlands and raised in Southern California, Clayton is widely considered one of the finest young jazz pianists in the country. His New York–based trio, with Justin Brown on drums and Joe Sanders on bass, has toured America and Europe, and is visiting Houston in support of its latest album, Life Forum.
Dec 7 at 8. $35–65. Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-524-5050. dacamera.com
Dickens on the Strand
This annual Victorian England–themed holiday street festival, now in its 40th year, features parades, live entertainment on five stages, roving musicians, jugglers, and actors dressed up as Dickens’s most memorable characters. This year’s guests of honor are two of Dickens’s descendants, Lucinda Dickens Hawksley and Jane Monk.
Dec 6–8. $10–80. Galveston Strand, Galveston. 409-750-9108. galvestonhistory.org
Based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie, Elf: The Musical tells the story of Buddy, a boy who accidentally climbs into Santa’s sack of gifts and ends up at the North Pole, where he’s raised to believe he’s an elf. When the adult Buddy finds out the truth, he sets out for New York City to find his real parents. Written by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, with songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin.
Dec 6–22. $24–121. Sarofim Hall, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-558-8887. tuts.com