21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Bluebonnets, Wine and Ballet

The all-male Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to Houston for another night of gleefully funny grand ballet with hilarious parodies of classical and contemporary dance. Shown are artists of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.EXPAND
The all-male Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo returns to Houston for another night of gleefully funny grand ballet with hilarious parodies of classical and contemporary dance. Shown are artists of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
Photo by Zoran Jelenic

Tuesday, March 21

Before you step up to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Birthing Center and ask, “Who’s going to go next?” — visitors’ No. 1 question, according to co-manager Richie Knebel — remember, animals are just like humans. “There’s no set schedule on parturition, or birthing, so it could happen any time,” says Knebel. “We have due dates, of course. I commonly refer to them as suggestion dates.” The exhibit, run by Knebel and his father, Rich Sr., includes cows, ewes and sows, which produced 21 calves, 21 lambs and 59 piglets last year — and 90 to 100 more this year, Knebel expects. He says that toward the end of the show, with a lot of babies on the ground, the exhibit easily houses “a lot” of livestock. “It’s like a miniature farm.” 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. March 7-26. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1080 or visit rodeohouston.com. $5 to $10. — Natalie de la Garza

Local author Cassandra Rose Clarke (go team) is out with a new space opera about a young woman who learns a sinister secret about her father's past. Instead of writing about hometown Houston, Clarke sets her story on a futuristic gaseous planet surrounded by four terraformed moons. As young Esme prepares to take over the family business, she realizes that dear daddy has been tinkering with alien DNA, which might or might not have something to do with the estrangement of her three half-sisters. Brazos Bookstore is stepping up to the plate and hosting the launch party for this one, and Clarke will be in attendance to discuss and sign copies of Star's End. 7 p.m. March 21. 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, March 22

Upcoming Events

He’s never played God before, but that’s what Alley Theatre Company member Todd Waite does in An Act of God. He’s even accompanied by two wingmen (groan) in angels Gabriel (John Feltch) and Michael (Emily Trask), who act as intermediaries between God and the audience. The one-act by 13-time Emmy® Award-winner David Javerbaum (The Daily Show) has its more serious moments but, for the most part, this is above all a comedy, Waite says. “This God has a sense of irony. He’s humorous, he’s wry, he’s smart, he’s a little petulant at times and forgiving in moments as well, but mostly he’s funny. I wouldn’t say he’s the God they know in King Lear.” 7:30 p.m. March 22. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays (dark April 12), 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. March 28 and April 4, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. March 26 and April 2 and 9, 2:30 p.m. April 16. March 22 through April 16. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-229-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $53 to $105. — Margaret Downing

Dust off those derbies, because it’s that wonderful equestrian time of year when elegant hunters, high-flying show jumpers and the horsey set gather for the two-week event known as the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. Admission is free most days, but don’t miss some of the premium nights: family-friendly Grand Prixes on March 25 and April 1, the Hunter/Hatter Derby on March 31, and food trucks Thursdays through Sundays. Pack an ice chest (no glass containers), visit the Shetland therapy ponies and miniature horses and do a little shopping at The Pin Oak Marketplace; it’s a lot of fun, and you’ll feel better knowing that this philanthropic event benefits charities that support the healing of sick children. Ticketed events are 4 to 9 p.m. March 25, March 31 and April 1. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22-24, 26-30 and April 2. Great Southwest Equestrian Center, 2501 South Mason, Katy. For information and full schedule, call 713-621-6290 or visit pinoak.org. Free to $10. — Susie Tommaney

Rec Room cofounders Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Matt Hune are both employed as educators, so they come from the mind of can-do, not can-don’t. “Everyone can be creative and make something,” says Wittels Wachs, co-creator of Le Spring Film Festival de Mobile Phone. The mobile phone movie fest features an hourlong screening of 12 to 15 films from filmmakers of any/no experience level. “Short films” are three minutes or less; anything more is considered a “feature.” Winners of the quarterly fest, now in its third edition, receive prizes and a photograph taken in front of a Sundance-looking step and repeat. Wittels Wachs is thinking about making her film debut. “I have great footage of my kid eating pasta from ages zero to three,” she says. Might it be “feature” length? “Probably. She eats a lot of pasta.” 8 p.m. March 22. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. $5. — Steve Jansen

Thursday, March 23

It’s been said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Pennie Mahon and her troupe of performing hounds prove otherwise. Houston Disc Dogs return to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with their gravity-defying canine tricks of all types. “There will be all kinds of dogs doing anything from long distance and Frisbee to freestyle flying discs where dogs jump off our bodies. They do handstands, jump ropes and high jumps,” says Mahon, head trainer of the organization. The show lasts approximately 25 minutes, followed by a meet-and-greet where families can get up close and personal with the animals. The Houston-based group rescues animals ranging in age from one to ten, and we hear one of them is talented enough to hula hoop. Now that’s worth watching. 7 p.m. March 23. Also 7 p.m. March 22, 7:30 p.m. March 25, 5 p.m. March 26. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1080 or visit rodeohouston.com. Free to $10. — Sam Byrd

Jolly nerds and gleeful geeks: Your minds are about to get played with. Mythbusters host and beloved dork avatar Adam Savage is hitting the road with his new partner in experimentation, Internet personality Michael Stevens (known to his 11.7 million YouTube subscribers as Vsause) for Brain Candy LIVE, and we’re pretty sure stuff’s gonna blow up. The brilliant dweebs have got a few big old grown-up toys that will crush and create and make marvelous spectacles of science right before your very eyes. As imaginative as Walt Disney, wacky as Willy Wonka and cerebral as Albert Einstein, this unique two-hour comedy-lecture hybrid offers the opportunity to potentially get onstage with the duo and assist in the madness. This family-friendly romp is not without its dangers – if you’re squeamish, you might want to steer clear of the splash zone up front. 8 p.m. March 23. Cullen Performance Hall, 4300 University. For information, call 1-800-745-3000 or visit uh.edu/cullen-performance-hall. $40 to $65. — Vic Shuttee

Award-winning musician and native of China Maiko Sasaki has performed with arts organizations all over town, but for this intimate chamber performance the ROCO clarinetist is bringing it home in "Roots, Reeds and Rhapsody," presented by ROCO and performed at Asia Society Texas Center under its Performing Asia umbrella. The eclectic program includes Bright Sheng’s Concertino for Clarinet and String Quartet; the contemporary composer drew from fragments of folk tunes he heard decades ago while living in northwest China. Joining Sasaki are violinists Amy Thiaville and Kana Kimura, cellist Courtenay Vandiver-Pereira, pianist Makiko Hirata with Suzanne LeFevre on viola. They also will perform works by Sergei Prokofiev, Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók, Claude Debussy and Zhou Long. 7:30 p.m. March 23. 1370 Southmore. For information, call 713-665-2700 or visit rocohouston.org. $15 to $25. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, March 24

Hairy chests, drag-queen makeup and gauzy but gaudy tutus: It is ballet, but there’s nothing typical about Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male troupe as adept at en pointe as they are at spoofing the classics. “There are a few members of the audience that don’t know what they’re going to come and see so they don’t usually know how to react,” says company member Alberto Pretto, who says children laugh at the outrageous choreography first, letting adults know it’s safe to join in. Their parody of “The Dying Swan,” with feathers falling out of the tutu in fits and spurts, offers the ultimate in comedic death scenes. “[It’s] an audience favorite,” says Pretto. “It’s really enjoyable to perform because we have the support of the audience laughing for us and cheering for us.” This light, funny evening serves as a good initiation to ballet and is presented in Houston courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts. 8 p.m. March 24. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $43 to $83. — Susie Tommaney

This year's featured artist at our favorite moveable feast for the eyes (downtown in the fall and at Memorial Park in the spring) is Amanda Bennett, a mixed media artist who hails from New Orleans, though she's logged time in Alabama and Tennessee. She fuses a few of her favorite things — mid-century advertising, acrylics and photography — and transforms them into pop art-inspired funk that echoes the culture and rhythm of the Crescent City. Come view works by Bennett and more than 300 artists and craftsmen at this open air salute to creativity, with food, music and fun. The Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, which is presented by Art Colony Association Inc., is celebrating its 45th year and we've got a few housekeeping notes: strollers are OK, but they've put the kibosh on pets, boomboxes, drones and coolers. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 24-26. Memorial Park, Memorial Drive and South Picnic Lane. For information, call 800-350-8850 or visit artcolonyassociation.org. $5 to $15. — Susie Tommaney

What's often billed as the Marseille Trilogy is, succinctly, the slow and steady story of girl chases boy, girl loses boy. As told through the eyes of playwright-turned-filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, the seriocomic trilogy of Marius (1931), Fanny (1932), and César (1936) introduces us to exquisitely drawn characters. There's the fresh-faced Fanny and her conflicted lover Marius who tries to follow mathematically impossible drink recipes from his widowed father César, plus a host of other seaside townsfolk: a wealthy sail-maker, a cheerful ferry captain and a half-sly, half-naïve port inspector. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents all three classics this weekend so stay in town and catch them all. Marius screens at 7 p.m. March 24, Fanny screens at 7 p.m. March 25 and César screens at 5 p.m. March 26. In French with English subtitles. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. — Susie Tommaney

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