21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: A Soaked City Searches For Amusements

This Friday, The HillBenders will present The Who's TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
This Friday, The HillBenders will present The Who's TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Photo by Maranie Staab

Note: In light of the total disruption caused by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, any relevant cancellations/postponements have been noted below.

Tuesday, August 29

This event has been canceled. Art inspires art and when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II adapted Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 play Liliom and turned it into a musical, America fell in love with the story of carousel barker Billy Bigelow and naive but smitten Julie Jordan. For Houston Ballet’s first lecture of the season, Dance Talk: Carousel – A Musical and A Dance, they’re delving deeper into Christopher Wheeldon’s one-act ballet. “It’s an interesting look, almost an abstraction of a very story-driven musical,” says Jennifer Sommers, director of education and community engagement. Joining the dance talk is Principal Sara Webb, members of the artistic staff and one crossover guest. “Because HGO did Carousel last year, we’ve having Richard Bado from HGO sit on the panel as well,” says Sommers, making for a nice compare-and-contrast of the musical interpretation and storytelling. 7 p.m. August 29. Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, August 30

Mariah Carey said it best: “Why are you so obsessed with me?” Turns out obsession is kind of a thing. Just ask that guy who surgically altered his body to resemble Mattel’s Ken doll. In that same spirit, Alamo Drafthouse is showing a series of curated movies that depict obsession in its various forms. With the movie Chuck and Buck, directed by Miguel Arteta and starring Mike White, Buck just can’t get over his childhood friend Chuck, and he develops a dangerous fixation on Chuck’s life. Programming Director Robert Saucedo says, “It’s both comedy and drama. One of my favorite subgenres of comedy is fringe comedy. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry, and this is a great example of that kind of film.” Stick around afterward for a post-show discussion. 7:30 p.m. August 30. 531 South Mason. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com. $5.41. — Sam Byrd

It was his early days as a cub reporter covering the police beat in southern California that introduced T. Jefferson Parker to the uglier side of humanity. His first novel, Laguna Heat, was written in his spare time on nights and weekends but now the three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling author devotes himself full time to penning thrillers that touch on dark subjects: extremist groups, child molesters, cancer and war. His latest, The Room of White Fire, is the first of a new series and introduces readers to the grim and controversial subject of outsourced torture and the Central Intelligence Agency. His new character, private investigator Roland Ford, is the best when it comes to tracking down missing persons, but he also carries the scars and pain from his wife's death and his time as a marine. Parker will be in town to read from his book and sign copies. 6:30 p.m. August 30. Murder By The Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

It seems that every new art movement is initially met with resistance, and the same held true in the early 1930s with the advent of abstract art. In spite of a lukewarm reception, the American Abstract Artists formed in 1936 and now the New York City-based organization is celebrating its 80th anniversary. A touring print exhibition titled "75th Anniversary American Abstract Artists Print Portfolio," curated five years ago, is making its rounds and its next stop — the first time the portfolio has been presented in a university setting west of the Mississippi River — is at the University of Houston-Clear Lake Art Gallery. There's a preview reception from 5 to 7 p.m. August 30. The exhibit continues 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon Fridays. August 31 through October 20. 2700 Bay Area Boulevard. For information, call 281-283-3376 or visit uhcl.edu/artgallery. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, August 31

We're still not sure if it was benevolence or home-field advantage that inspired the Dallas Cowboys to offer up AT&T Stadium for this pre-season game against the Houston Texans. Regardless of intent, there's no doubt that this is one of the greatest rivalries going and we've already got football fever here in H-Town, even if it's still pre-season. Sadly, tailgating is off the table since the game has been relocated to Arlington, so — praying the roads will be passable by then — why not head out to the tavern of your choice and root for J.J. Watt and company to take down America's Team? Lord knows Houstonians are overdue to blow off a little steam. 7 p.m. August 31, KTRK-ABC 13. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Warm up your vocal cords, because this girl’s night out is about to get loud at Alamo Drafthouse’s Girlie Night: Pitch Perfect Sing-Along. Join the Barden Bellas and the Treblemakers for an aca-awesome night. “You can sing and quote along with the film during all the great songs,” Alamo Programming Director Robert Saucedo says. “To aid, we give people props. You’ll get a custom Pitch Perfect cup and do the cup song along with Anna Kendrick. You’ll also get a Bella scarf to rock out in your best attire. We have a few other surprises for funny plot points in the movie.” After all, let’s face it – it’s always more fun to belt out our favorite songs in a room full of movie lovers than to sit at home alone doing it. 7:30 p.m. August 31. 531 South Mason Road. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/Houston. $12. — Sam Byrd

Dr. Kittredge Stephenson is a clinical psychologist who has spent years studying mental health from an Eastern perspective, including co-translating a book by Jungian analyst Iwao Akita, in order to help grapple with life’s biggest questions. And now, he’s utilizing Akira Kurosowa’s seminal 1950 film, Rashômon, in which four witnesses recount very different versions of the same story, to help. “It feels to me like [Kurosowa’s] wrestling with truth, capital-T truth, and to what degree humanity can be a part of that or tolerate it or represent it or see it,” says Stephenson. He expects the evening to be a little bit lecture and a little bit discussion, and hopes to use his knowledge and Akita’s theory “like a magnifying glass” to “reflect on who we are and what we want in our lives.” 7 p.m. August 31. The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-8253 or visit junghouston.org. Free. — Natalie de la Garza

Like an extravagant multi-course meal, this Turkish music festival serves up plenty of tunes (both historic and contemporary), an exhibition of Turkish instruments, and a couple of lectures by experts in culture, Rumi and religion. The first free lecture is 2:30 to 5 p.m. August 31 with Dr. Cengiz Sisman. His program, titled The Last Empire: The Fall of the Ottomans and the Rise of the Turkish Republic, takes place at Rice University's Alice Pratt Brown Hall. Performing Asia Music of Turkey with Choppa Projects continues with concerts at 6:30 p.m. September 15 and 8 p.m. September 16, both at Asia Society Texas Center; an exhibition of music scores, recordings and instruments at Rice University's Fondren Library (August 26 through September 30) and free lectures on September 7, 14, 15 and 16 at Rice University. 6100 Main and 1370 Southmore. For information, visit hoppaproject.com/tmf2017 or asiasociety.org/texas/events/performing-asia-music-turkey-hoppa-project. Free to $20. — Susie Tommaney

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 1

South by Southwest co-founder Louis Jay Meyers certainly had the connections; the longtime musician and producer saw his Austin music festival take off like nobody’s business. But still it took decades to find the right bluegrass band to realize his dream of infusing Pete Townshend’s rock opera with some banjo, dobro and mandolin. Sadly, Meyers died on opening day of SXSW 2016, but not before seeing his dream come true; we’ll get our first look when The HillBenders Present The Who’s TOMMY: A Bluegrass Opry at Miller Outdoor Theatre. HillBenders guitarist Jim Rea describes it as “bluegrass meets rock and roll” and says they got to meet Townshend. “Oh man, it was remarkable. He’s a rock and roll legend,” says Rea. “It was a huge deal for me; a huge deal for Lewis.” 8 p.m. September 1. 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

This event has been canceled. Join the Houston Symphony as they kick off the 2017-2018 POPS season with Steven Reineke at the conductor’s stand. The organization is rolling out the red carpet for his new role by celebrating the birthday of one of his all-time favorite performers. Sophisticated Ladies: Ella at 100 brings together vocalists Montego Glover, Capathia Jenkins and N’Kenge to present Ella Fitzgerald, as well as other great musicians of her era. “This entire concert celebrates music from Ella, Dorothy Dandridge, Cab Calloway, Billie Holliday and the Cotton Club days,” says N’Kenge. “It’s nice to have an older generation who knows these songs and grew up with them, as well as the new generation hearing this for the very first time.” 8 p.m. September 1-2; 7:30 p.m. September 3. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $35 to $155. — Sam Byrd

When Stephen King directed Maximum Overdrive in 1985, his first and only directorial credit, he was in over his head and coked out of his mind – or at least he is in Maximum King!, a fictionalized, behind-the-scenes account by screenwriter Shay Hatten. Selections from Hatten’s script will be read before Alamo Drafthouse’s “retail under siege” double feature of Maximum Overdrive and The Mist, screening as part of their month-long tribute to the horror master. Though not widely considered “great” adaptations of King’s work, programming director Robert Saucedo argues “there’s no such thing as a movie that’s so bad it’s good. If you had fun watching the movie, then it’s a great film, and I challenge anybody to come watch a movie like Maximum Overdrive on the big screen and not have a good time.” 8 p.m. September 1. 531 South Mason Road, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/houston/theater/mason-park. $9.74. — Natalie de la Garza



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