21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Shark Week and Pampered Pooches

Tuesday, July 18

Whether it’s the thrill of the fight or the gore of the bite, we just can’t keep our attention off Shark Week. And no, we’re not talking about the sharks from West Side Story. We’re talking about the lean, mean killing machine that stalks prey in the oceans. And this year, they’ve made the leap from television to the silver screen with Discovery’s Shark Week at the Movies. This one-night premiere toasts the most famous week of television, which is geared toward dispelling misunderstandings about these often-feared creatures. It also gives viewers a way to experience Shark Week in a whole new way, with a “best of” collection from Shark Week 2016 and a special episode of Shark Week 2017. 7:30 p.m. July 18. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for list of participating venues. $16.24. — Sam Byrd

Wednesday, July 19

It all sounds so very Parisian: an al fresco painting party with friends, wine and light bites from Phoenicia. But here’s the kicker that brings it all home: Pinot’s Palette at Trumpet Flower takes place under the shade of the massive sculpture designed by Patrick Renner and produced by art collective Flying Carpet. “We set up tables and chairs underneath the Trumpet Flower. It’s an intimate happy-hour setting,” says Adrienne Joseph, programming manager for the Houston Downtown Management District. Joseph says the district has become so walkable now, it’s even attracting aspiring artists from neighboring Commerce Towers and Kirby Lofts. Plus, Phoenicia’s MKT BAR – also within walking distance – hosts its Vinyl & Vino event every Wednesday, which just keeps the party going. 6 to 8 p.m. July 19, August 16 and September 20. Main Street Square, 1021 Main. For information, visit artblockshouston.org. $22. — Susie Tommaney

Upcoming Events

Thursday, July 20

So how exactly does one prepare for a public convo with New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly? Crime novelist Theresa Schwegel has been boning up watching Bosch and reading the just-released The Late Show, but she’s not nervous. “The first time I met him was the night that I won the Edgar for first novel. I was terrified. He came over to me and he was very gracious,” says Schwegel. “I’m excited to talk to him about his new book. He’s got a female protagonist and I’ve been told he based this on somebody he met — a female detective in Hollywood.” The former newspaper reporter splits his time between California and Florida, but will be in town for Michael Connelly in Conversation With Theresa Schwegel at Murder By The Book. 6:30 p.m. July 20. 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

It’s the curse of all rock stars — their music will live on long after they’ve left this mortal coil. Lucky for those of us who still mourn our gone-too-soon idols, at least we have a music-filled romp with Rec Room Arts’ Dead Rockstar Sing-A-Long Club, this time honoring the music of George Michael and Sharon Jones. “We’ve billed it as part theater, part concert. It’s a musical eulogy honoring the work of those musicians,” says artistic director Matt Hune. Actors/singers Wesley Whitson, Orlanders Jones and Mahoganee Renee will portray the lead characters, along with a full band, choreography, lighting and costumes. Even though this is a sing-along — yes, there will be music books — don’t expect a curated karaoke night. 8 p.m. July 20. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. July 20 through August 12. 100 Jackson Street. For information, call 713-999-9196 or visit recroomarts.org. Free to $20. — Sam Byrd

Tony Kushner’s multi-award-winning two-part play, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, is as powerful today as when it premiered in 1991. London's National Theatre first performed the production in 1992 and just recently restaged the play with Tony Award-winning director Marianne Elliott at the helm. In this production, Nathan Lane portrays the horribly misguided Roy Cohn and Andrew Garfield has the part of Prior Walter, who transforms from being the elegant man-about-town to a patient suffering from the ravages of AIDS. The cameras were rolling, and we can see this two-parter on the big screen when Fathom Events presents Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches and, a week later, Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika. 7 p.m. July 20 and July 27. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location, visit fathomevents.com for list of participating venues. $25.98. — Susie Tommaney

This weekend marks the last gig in the States for high-energy comic Chris DiStefano; after this he's hopping the transatlantic to do a four-nighter at the Vodaphone Comedy Festival in Dublin, Ireland. We've seen him on MTV2's GuyCode; on MTV's GirlCode, Failosiphy and Money From Strangers; and IFC's hockey-centric Benders. The actor/writer/producer is in pre-production for a TV movie starring Annie Potts and Chazz Palminteri but, until that begins shooting, this is our chance to see his stand-up at Houston Improv. He's on the fast track for sure; it's hard to imagine that it was only five years ago when DiStefano was selected to be one of Comedy Central's "Comics to Watch" at the 2012 New York Comedy Festival. 8 p.m. July 20, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. July 21, 7 and 9:30 p.m. July 22. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $20 to $30. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, July 21

For two decades now, Theatre Southwest has been bringing new voices to the stages of the Marie Pearsall Theatre. The five exciting new one-acts on tap at this year’s 20th Festival of Originals should be the finest yet, promises producer Mimi Holloway. “We have comedy, we have drama, we have mystery!” she says, laughing. Thomas Misuraca’s Joey and Chuck, directed by longtime collaborator Jay Menchaca, turns that classic “gay man coming out to his parents” formula on its head, Holloway vows. “They say they’re such progressive parents? The [boyfriend is] three years older than the father!” Other originals include marriage drama The Next Move by New York writer William Ivor Fowkes, the “twist-turn-what’s-happening-now? mystery” Card Game by George Rapier, comedy-mystery Elimination Game by Houston writer Carl Williams and jailbird-redemption love story Blur in the Rear View by Aleks Merlio. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. July 30. July 21 through August 5. 8944 Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit theatresouthwest.org. $16 to $18. — Vic Shuttee

Houston playwright Vincent Victoria knows comedy, and already has garnered successes with his irreverent take on Broadway's Auntie Mame (Auntie Shameka's Sixth Husband, Auntie Shameka Woman of the Ghetto). For this latest production, main character Shameka "Shame" Kennedy is a flamboyant hairdresser in Third Ward whose life is turned upside down when her hot-but-naive nephew comes for a stay. Auntie Shameka: A Fabulously Funny Comedy is an urban retelling of the classic play that mixes in gangsta culture with a nice lesson on the power of love. Stay after for a talk-back on July 23 with the cast, playwright and director. Note: Don't put the wrong venue into your GPS, folks; this one's at Midtown Art Center, across the street from Houston Community College. 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. July 21 through July 30. 3414 LaBranch. For information, call 281-832-6380 or visit banksbrothersproductions.com. $15 to $20. — Susie Tommaney

Carrie: The Musical has been plagued with its share of bad luck, much like the character written by Stephen King. The fake blood caused mike problems in a late-'80s production by the Royal Shakespeare Company; when it was transferred to Broadway, the play closed after just 16 previews and five performances, making it one of the most expensive disasters in theater history. But the backers may have got this one wrong: The production was sold out, night after night, which tells us that Michael Gore (music), Dean Pitchford (lyrics) and Lawrence D. Cohen (book) may have been on to something. It's time for Houston audiences to see for themselves when Broadway Performing Arts Studio presents this supernatural thriller, directed by Benjamin K. Luss, at The MATCH. 7:30 p.m. July 21, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. July 22. 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or 917-603-5959 or visit matchouston.org or broadwaypas.org. $15 to $20. — Susie Tommaney

Villains and melodramas are old hat, but this popcorn-throwing summer production at Theatre Suburbia happens to be a world premiere by local playwright Kris Thompson. A young woman escapes her fiancé and guardians, runs away to join the circus and finds true love. Actor Adrian Collinson tells us this is his fourth turn as the villain in a melodrama (audience members “express their disdain” by throwing popcorn and offering up boos and hisses), and his character finds himself in hot pursuit of the runaway heiress. Collinson also says the interactive sing-along is always popular. “They’re usually old standards like ‘Oh My Darling, Clementine’ and that sort of song that everyone has known since they were a kid.” Elvin Moriarty and Judy Reeves direct The Man in the Locket: Truths and Lies at the Bergstrom Circus & Menagerie, this year’s winner of the Summer Mellerdrammer playwriting contest. 8:30 p.m Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. July 30 and August 6, 13 and 20. July 21 through August 26. 4106 Way Out West. For information, call 713-682-3525 or visit theatresuburbia.org. $13 to $16. — Susie Tommaney

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