Heapin' Helpin' of Homicide

Mystery Cafe serves up dinner with a side of death

You've watched enough TV detectives to know there isn't much to this crime-solving stuff, right? Smoke a pipe, stroke your chin, ask some questions, scribble some notes and jam them into your trench coat. Bingo -- you're a supersleuth. Follow your lead to the Mystery Cafe, where you can unleash your inner Holmes, Poirot or Columbo -- all while getting stuffed on a three-course meal. This week's featured show, Marriage Can Be Murder, puts you on the guest list of the chichi wedding ceremony of Phil Hocker and Stephanie Belcher, the heir and heiress of two warring Texas baked-bean conglomerates.

By the end of the first act (and the corresponding first course of your meal), a few murders will have occurred, and it's up to the audience to figure out whodunit. Stuck? Use some fake money to bribe your way into finding out more clues. Be the first to finger the murderer by the third act (and dessert), and you win a prize. Congrats, Sherlock. Now lose the trench coat -- it's August. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 6 and 7. Marriott West Loop Hotel, 1750 West Loop South. For a full schedule, call 713-944-2583 or visit www.mysterycafehouston.com. $45. -- Steven Devadanam

These Chicks Have 'Tude

Al Cameron
Joe Rocco
Harry Sheppard
Harry Sheppard

MON 8/9

The "Chicks with Attitude" tour -- featuring Liz Phair and several other grrl rawkers -- is sponsored by Maybelline. We assume the name "Chicks with the Right Attitude About Mascara" was just a little too long to fit on a poster. Hell, Liz Phair is probably best described as a Chick Who Barely Has Any Attitude Left, considering the way she remade herself as Avril Lavigne's den mother on her latest release. But Phair still writes about the relevant stuff in her life, like the weirdness of being in your mid-thirties with a kid and having a guy stay overnight. Also on the bill are the Cardigans, Katy Rose and Charlotte Martin, a young woman who can definitely tickle the ivories. Unless Phair kicks out some of her older jams, Martin will probably offer up the edgiest song of the night, "Pretty Thing," which mocks men's superficial attraction to beauty. 8 p.m. Monday, August 9. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600. $21.50 to $29.50. -- Greg Barr

American Idols

WED 8/11

People who don't like musicals pretty much always have the same complaint: Why the hell do the actors have to sing almost every damn word of dialogue? Well, all you lyrical haters, we've got a musical for you. Idols of the King is a show about Elvis Presley and his legions of fans. Anyone who has ever seen the King try to act will applaud all the more when he -- okay, an impersonator -- just sticks to singing jams like "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Jailhouse Rock." 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, August 11 through 13. 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 14 and 15. Moody Gardens Convention Center, One Hope Boulevard in Galveston. For information, call 409-737-1744 or visit www.galvestonmusicals.com. $20 to $33. -- Keith Plocek

Good Old-Timer

SUN 8/8

Don't let Harry Sheppard's modest, grandfatherly demeanor fool you. The man is an absolute witch on the vibraphone, which he's been tickling with jazz greats since your parents were in diapers. Catch Sheppard, along with "Prof" Conrad Johnson on sax, "Big" Joe Nettles on piano and Jay "Bird" Berg on trumpet, at tonight's "Legends of Jazz" show. You won't mind the jaunt to Clear Lake when these venerable cats take the stage at 4 p.m. Sunday, August 8. Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake, 2000 NASA Parkway. For information, call 281-335-7777. $25. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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