21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: A Skeleton Fashion Show and Tacos

October 17
The stars aligned in 1987 and now Da Camera, The Menil Collection and the world-renowned Austrian string quartet Quatuor Mosaïques — known for playing on period-specific instruments — are all celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. “Thirty years ago it seems like there was a certain amount of creative energy,” observes Sarah Rothenberg, Da Camera’s artistic and general director. For the Mosaïques’ return to Houston, they will play three masterworks in the Menil, a setting Rothenberg says is as close as you can get to an 18th- or 19th-century salon, including pieces from Mendelssohn and Beethoven that Rothenberg says are linked, “one written by a very young composer who became a great Romantic composer, and the other written by one of the greatest composers who ever lived as one of his very last musical statements.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. 1533 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. $60. – Natalie de la Garza

Día de Los Muertos may be something of a selling point for mainstream craft shops and Walmart nowadays, but to people of Mexican heritage, its deeper meaning remains. “It’s a time of honor and respect and love; there are personal mementos, there are personal memories and it’s a time to celebrate people’s ancestors and the light that they had,” says Chrissie Ramirez, who through her gallery and store, Casa Ramirez, has been celebrating the Day of the Dead in Houston for more than two decades. Everyone is invited to Dia de los Muertos Altar/Ofrenda Exhibits. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Continuing 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. October 19 through November 10. Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, 241 West 19th. For information, call 713-880-2420 or visit facebook.com/Casa-Ramirez- FOLKART-Gallery-76060185584. Free. – Camilo Hannibal Smith

October 18
In cities throughout the Southwest, and especially in places like San Antonio, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, Chicano soul – inspired by urban black musical genres like jazz, blues and rock and roll, along with traditional Mexican music – developed throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, creating a distinctly American sound. Ruben Molina documented the history of brown-eyed soul in his 2007 book, Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture. In honor of the book’s 10th anniversary, The Center for Public History at the University of Houston and A Fistful of Soul will host a panel with Molina and Oscar Villanueva, a member of one of the most notable Chicano soul groups, Sunny and the Sunliners. After the panel, Villanueva will take the stage with the Allen Oldies Band to play a few classics. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts), 1900 Kane. For information, visit facebook.com/events/269859263520884. – Natalie de la Garza

October 19
“The play is like a mash-up between Hamlet, a ’70s sitcom and a slasher movie,” says Mildred’s Umbrella Artistic Director Jennifer Decker of Feathers and Teeth. “It’s hilarious and horrifying in equal measure.” Written by Charise Castro Smith and directed by Mildred’s regular Jacey Little, the dark comedy deals with a teenage girl (the “wonderful” Maddie Calais) dealing with losing her mother to cancer. There’s a boy with a crush on her, and her dad has begun dating her late mother’s former nurse. “I’ve had this play on my list for two years now; I thought it was brilliant,” says Decker. “[So] when Jacey mentioned it to me, not knowing that I’d already fallen in love with it, it just seemed perfect.” 8 p.m. Thursday. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. October 29. Studio 101, 1824 Spring. October 19 through November 4. For information, call 832-463-0409 or visit mildredsumbrella.com. $15 to 25; pay what you can 8 p.m. October 30. — Vic Shuttee

There’s no ugly duckling in sight in the Russian Grand Ballet’s touring production of Swan Lake, which combines pure romanticism and tragedy in a magical tale of love and deception. Fashioned from Russian folk tales, the story follows the beautiful princess Odette, who falls under the spell of an evil sorcerer; only Prince Siegfried’s devotion can save her from a cursed life. Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s captivating score and the gravity-defying dancers have made this one of the most famous ballets of all time. For the first time, this full-length classical production includes the rarely seen “Waltz of the Black Swans,” and features Russia’s brightest ballet stars. Three acts with two intermissions. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road, Stafford. For information, call 281-208-6900 or visit staffordcentre.com. $45 to $75. — Sam Byrd

Impressionist great Edgar Degas was a bit of a creep who was obsessed with the pain ballet subjected on the bodies of women. His work is full of dancers, the petits rats (little rats) as they were called, illuminated under harsh light, their bodies contorted and flexed, and ultimately silent – until now. The Boiling Point Players will open their season with the regional premiere of Daniel Ciba's Positions, a fictitious imagining of the life of Degas told from the perspective of 12 of the dancers he painted. Directed by Autumn Clack and Ruth McCleskey, the play explores the affect an artist can have on its subjects – in particular, an artist who once said he showed women “without their coquetry, in the state of animals cleaning themselves.” 8 p.m. Thursday. Continuing 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, October 23 and 26. October 19 through 28. Beacon Theatre, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 832-303-1578 or visit boilingpointplayers.com. $15 to $20. – Natalie de la Garza

October 20
Still recovering from Hurricane Harvey’s damage, the Houston Symphony will triumphantly return to Jones Hall to present Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony. The concert will also feature Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with guest soloist Johannes Moser and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5. Still, there’s no doubt about the highlight of the evening. “The star of the program is Mozart’s symphony. It was the last symphony he wrote, and it’s genius. He set the stage for the modern symphony with this composition,” says artistic administrator Rebecca Zabinski. Guest conductor Matthew Halls will lead the orchestra. 8 p.m. Friday and October 21, 2:30 p.m. October 22. 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $23 to $120. — Sam Byrd

While many offer goodwill and condolences, not every comedian passing through Houston will put her money where her mouth is. But Jen Kirkman vows to donate a portion of her ticket sales to the Harvey recovery effort, a decision she calls obvious. “Anytime I can combine my job with doing something good, it feels good,” says the stand-up and former Chelsea Lately star. “In a weird way, I’d probably end up giving less if it was just me writing a check. If something is going on in the community that is so glaring, I can’t come through and ignore it — that’s tacky.” 8 p.m. Friday. The Heights Theater, 339 West 19th. For information, call 214-272-8346 or visit theheightstheater.com. $20. — Vic Shuttee

Mexican printmaker and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada probably had no idea his satirical La Calavera Catrina, a well-dressed lady skeleton etched in the early 1900s, would one day become a staple of Dia de los Muertos iconography – or that it would inspire fashion shows. But for MECA’s 8th annual Day of the Dead-themed party, Calavera Rendezvous, the designers of the Art Institute of Houston have turned their keen fashion sense toward designs inspired by the catrina, with a special focus on her fancy plumed hat. This celebratory, 21-and-up-only fundraiser will feature music from DJ Boricua Soul; dance performances from Stacey Allen and MECA Ballet Folklórico; and art from Luis Gavito, Bobby Ramos and Michael Martin. It will also benefit MECA (which suffered damages during Hurricane Harvey) and their arts and social service programs. 7 p.m. Friday. 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-802-9370 or visit meca-houston.org. $20. – Natalie de la Garza

Where can you find more than 200 retro and contemporary coin-operated pinball machines, arcade games and console games ready to play or buy? At the 2017 Houston Arcade Expo, that’s where. For the 16th year, the gamer’s paradise is bringing pinball tournaments (with proceeds going to those affected by Harvey); special guests and speakers, including game designer Brian F. Colin, video game historian Patrick Scott Patterson and founder of the Lone Star Pinball Museum Dan Ferguson; repair clinics; a screening of Brett Whitcomb's documentary A Life in Waves, about electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani; and a live performance from nerd rock band extraordinaire the Consortium of Genius. Ready player one. Noon Friday. Also 10 a.m. October 21. Crowne Plaza Northwest-Brookhollow, 12801 Northwest Freeway. For information, call 713-375-1801 or visit arcadecenter.com. $30 to $40. – Natalie de la Garza

Until the expansion of its main campus is complete and it re-opens in 2019, the Holocaust Museum Houston will set up shop in a temporary location on Kirby beginning on October 20. On display is the museum’s permanent exhibit, “Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers,” and two new exhibits: “New Dimensions in Testimony,” an interactive audio-visual installation that allows museum-goers a chance to virtually converse with Holocaust survivors, and “Human Rights Art,” a showcase of 32 works on human rights around the world, social justice and activism from the South Texas College’s permanent collection. Admission is free until October 31 and on all Sundays going forward. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. Continuing 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Holocaust Museum Houston Morgan Family Center, Suite 100, 9220 Kirby. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit hmh.org. Free to $12. – Natalie de la Garza

The 2017 Houston Arcade Expo brings more than 200 retro and modern games - of the pinball, arcade and console variety - for gamers to play and buy.EXPAND
The 2017 Houston Arcade Expo brings more than 200 retro and modern games - of the pinball, arcade and console variety - for gamers to play and buy.
Photo by Keith Christensen

October 21
Yankees might not get it, but here in Texas it seems natural to spend an afternoon in celebration of taco joy. This Saturday we’re doing just that when Houston Press presents Tacolandia, where we careen from booth to booth in search of the perfect taco while luchadores, mariachi and a gigantic Tabasco inflatable keep the theme going. We checked in with Marco Torres, principal photographer for the book The Tacos of Texas, about what to look for. “It’s a combination of three things, number one being the tortilla; it has to be either corn- or flour-based,” says Torres, adding that he’s been training for the taco thing his whole life. “Number two is the filling, something that’s authentic Mexican or some-thing that’s Tex-Mex or something called new American slash fusion taco.” Last but not least is the salsa. “That’s the icing on the cake. You want everything that tastes great and tastes fresh and makes you happy.” VIP ticket-holders get in at 3 p.m., which means an extra hour of taco love. 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. The Water Works, 105 Sabine. For information, call 877-987-6487 or visit tacolandiahouston.com. $45 to $80. — Susie Tommaney

No, this isn’t some disgusting challenge where if you don’t eat the bugs you’ll be voted off the island. Better than reality TV, OktoberPest returns to the Houston Museum of Natural Science with a monarch butterfly release and a bug-petting zoo, but we’re all aflutter over the gourmet insect cooking demo. According to Food & Wine, queen-ant eggs make for a great tostada, crickets and mealworms go well with both ramen noodles and a hearty grasshopper burger, and — right here in Houston — Xochi has been known to serve ant mole and gusano (worm) salt. So while the grown-ups are planning their next gustatory adventure, the little ones can engage in “bugs and crafts” and have fun with beetles and butterflies. Come dressed as an insect, beekeeper or bug-related character for free tix to the Cockrell Butterfly Center on your next visit. 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Saturday. 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit hmns.org. Free to $25. — Susie Tommaney

Your friend hasn’t tweeted, liked or updated his status in a year; that means he’s dead, right? Or so goes the plot of Ike Holter’s Sender, making its regional premiere at Rec Room. Director Josh Morrison cherry-picked the perfect cast in Candice d’Meza, Gabriel Regojo, Jeremy Gee and Stephanie Wittels Wachs, and describes Holter’s language as phenomenal. “One of the friends disappeared under unknown circumstances. The idea is he had passed away, died, but there was no confirmation, no finding of his body. All of a sudden he pops back up.” Morrison is quick to point out that, in spite of its ethereal heaviness, it’s still a comedy, still a lot of fun. “The play is kind of about the millennial generation. Before we know it, they will be the ones running the country and kind of dictating the social and political atmosphere.” Expect a bit of nudity, some profanity, and plenty to think about on the way home. 8 p.m. Saturday. Also 8 p.m. Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. October 19 through November 11. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomarts.org. $15 to $35. — Susie Tommaney

The prosecution calls Adolf Hitler. Then Sigmund Freud, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Steve Jobs take the stand to evaluate — from a 21st-century perspective — the man who nailed his 95 Theses to a church door and launched the Reformation in Chris Cragin-Day and Max McLean’s Martin Luther on Trial. “You have a great personality, hugely heroic on one side and then, quite frankly, deeply flawed on another,” says McLean, also founder and artistic director of Fellowship for the Performing Arts. “Luther is just this huge Shakespearean-size character, and then the historical moment was such a powder keg.” 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Continuing 7 p.m. October 19; 8 p.m. October 20 and 27; 2 and 8 p.m. 28; 2 p.m. October 22 and 29; 7 p.m. October 24, 25 and 26. October 19 through 29. Jeannette & L.M. George Theater, 5420 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-2721 or visit fpatheatre.com. $20 to $70. — Natalie de la Garza

Before Fallon and Corden, Saturday Night Live, A Prairie Home Companion and even Hee Haw, there was Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. Premiering in 1950, the live variety show pioneered the format from which all others have evolved, not to mention inspiring Neil Simon's 1993 play Laughter on the 23rd Floor, the next staged reading at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center. Simon based it on his time in Caesar’s writers’ room, where he worked with folks like Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Larry Gelbart. Simon’s stand-in, Lucas Brickman, works with a Russian ex-pat, a hypochondriac, a beret-wearer and one very pregnant funny lady; contends with higher-ups that want to censor the jokes, cut the show and fire someone; and his boss, the Caesar-like Max Prince. 8 p.m. Saturday. Also 3 p.m. October 22. 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-729-3200 or visit erjcchouston.org. $10 to $15. – Natalie de la Garza

October 22
It was a complete failure when it first opened in Venice in 1853. By several accounts, audience members didn’t think the lead singer was suited for the role of the consumptive Violetta and weren’t too fond of some of the other singers’ performances. It was revised and taken to other cities, and the fortunes of La traviata (“The Fallen Woman”) did a complete 180, although some still questioned its morality. Verdi’s now-classic story of the courtesan Violetta, who falls in love with Alfredo but gives him up when his father demands it, has it all: love, devotion and bad choices galore. Tenor Dimitri Pittas (Elixir of Love) is back in Houston to sing his first Alfredo role in eight years. “[Alfredo] is a love-struck romantic who ultimately loses the love of his life because he doesn’t follow his heart,” says Pittas. As sad as that is, he adds, “the music is sublime.” 2 p.m. Sunday. Continuing 7 p.m. October 20; 7:30 p.m. October 28, November 1, 3 and 11; 2 p.m. November 5. October 20 through November 11. Resilience Hall, George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. Sung in Italian with English projections. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $18 to $269.50. — Margaret Downing

“I think the title says a lot,” says Stacy Bakri, the artistic director of Company OnStage and the director of its upcoming production, Most Wretched Deathbed Fever Dreams of Edgar Allan Poe. Donna Latham’s historical reimagining of the night Poe died finds him taken in, beaten and bloodied, by the purveyors of a memento mori shop. From the concussed and semi-lucid writer, elements of Poe’s work emerge, including “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven.” Bakri says the play is sure to please history fans, anyone interested in mid-19th-century attitudes toward death and bereavement, and especially the Poe fans. “People just like his work and they love good, spooky stuff,” she adds. “His legend just keeps feeding on itself.” 2 p.m. Sunday. Continuing 8 p.m. October 20 and 21, 27 and 28, November 3 and 4; 2 p.m. October 29. October 20 through November 4. 4930 West Bellfort. For information, call 713-726-1219 or visit companyonstage.org. $18. — Natalie de la Garza

For four years, the Bolshoi Ballet has been bringing their world-famous productions from Moscow to cinemas across the country. To kick off this season, the Bolshoi Ballet is presenting Alexei Ratmansky’s revival of Le Corsaire. The 19th century ballet, inspired by Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair, tells the story of a pirate, Conrad, who falls in love with Medora, the ward of a slave merchant. The ballet has gone through many reworkings and reimaginings, including at the hands of Marius Petipa, but the Bolshoi promises a lavish production of its own, complete with a dramatic shipwreck and captivating scenery. 11:55 a.m. Sunday. Houston Marq*E Stadium 23, 7600 Katy Freeway. Gulf Pointe 30, 11801 South Sam Houston Parkway East. Willowbrook 24, 17145 Tomball Parkway. For more information, visit fathomevents.com. $19.49. – Natalie de la Garza

October 23
When Franz Schubert debuted the first 12 songs of his “Winterreise” (“Winter’s Journey”) song cycle to his friends, they were perplexed by their dark, depressing tone. Soon, however, they came to appreciate the melancholic beauty contained within the 24-part work, set against the poems of Wilhelm Müller, about a man wandering alone through a cold winter. Da Camera will present the Romantic song cycle during A Stranger I Arrive, A Stranger I Depart: Schubert’s “Winterreise, with Canadian baritone Tyler Duncan and pianist Sarah Rothenberg, at the Menil Collection as part of Da Camera’s “No Place Like Home” season. Gracing the walls of the Menil is Mona Hatoum’s “Terra Infirma” exhibit, which also explores the idea of being without a home but in the exhibit, displacement is caused by war and exile. 7:30 p.m. Monday. The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. $60. – Natalie de la Garza

Once upon a time there lived a prince, cursed to walk the earth in search of three oranges, each containing a princess. Though warned not to open the oranges unless near water — of course — the prince finds them in a desert. Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center, says Sergei Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, based on a Carlo Gozzi commedia dell’arte piece, is one of the center’s most popular shows for good reason. “If you think about a big Cirque du Soleil show, it’s more like that — just no acrobats,” says Ross. “It’s just really big and splashy and colorful, [but] I think we’ll give away too many surprises if we tell you much more than that!” 7:30 p.m. Monday. Also 7:30 p.m. October 20 and 21; 2 p.m. October 22. University of Houston, 120 School of Music Building. For information, call 713-743-3388 or visit uh.edu/cota/music/opera. $12 to $20. — Natalie de la Garza

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