21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: David Spade and Houston Fringe Festival

David Spade, the king of satire, brings his witty humor to Houston Improv for two nights only this Wednesday and Thursday.EXPAND
David Spade, the king of satire, brings his witty humor to Houston Improv for two nights only this Wednesday and Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Kim Archie

Note: In light of the total disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding, any relevant cancellations or postponements have been noted below.

Tuesday, September 5

Houston Fringe Festival is our annual celebration of art meets alt, capping off with its signature closing night Anything Goes showcase of ten-minute-or-less works. But our eyes are on the anything-is-possible opening night, a double-header featuring a dance for film by Daniela Antelo and Brenda Cruz-Wolf titled Better on the Outside (imagine a set made with 90-yard pieces of fabric) and Remembering the Missing. Lori Yuill conceived and directed this latter piece on exploration of memory and sensation performed by jhon r. stronks, Miranda Tadlock, Yuill and Antelo. “I just moved around so much over the past 15 to 20 years and just recognized the holes left by people and places,” says Yuill. “I started this as a way of investigating those holes.” Due to weather-related cancellations, please check the website for updates. 8:30 p.m. September 5 and 3:30 p.m. September 10. The Houston Fringe Festival continues September 5-10. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org or houstonfringefestival.org. $10 to $90. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, September 6

Journalism schools might want to re-think their coursework on developing an on-screen persona. Comic brat extraordinaire David Spade has gotten some traction of late reading newspapers and commenting on broadcasts, though his deadpan recitations are delivered with snide, off-the-cuff remarks. Spade has almost 750,000 followers on Facebook and is still riding the wave of critical acclaim from 2015 memoir Almost Interesting, chronicling his rise to break-out stardom on Saturday Night Live with first-person anecdotes and behind-the-scenes bits. With three films in the can before the year is out (Mad Families, Sandy Wexler and Warning Shot), his career is still on an upward trajectory, which means we should bow to his satirical holiness when he takes the stage for a two-night run at Houston Improv. 8 p.m. September 6-7. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $45 to $55. — Susie Tommaney

As Estevan Azcona and Pin Lim have combed through some 2,500 historical photos from Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, also known as the arts education-focused cultural center MECA, one aspect especially stood out. “MECA has been a stalwart of the community. People are still as passionate today. It has never waned,” says Lim, who is putting together the exhibition MECA: 40 Years: In Photos. The show, which includes an assist from Azcona, MECA arts and residency director and music director, will feature 40 photos from four decades, ranging from official images for the center’s programs and activities to photographer Lim’s own shots of the organization from the past few years. There's an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. September 8. Noon to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. September 1 through 29. 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-802-9370 or visit meca-houston.org. Free. — Steve Jansen

Thursday, September 7

Note: this show has been postponed until September 21 but extended through October 7. What would you do if you won $337 million? Cassie and Kurt, the middle-aged couple who hit the jackpot in David L. Williams’s The Winners, hire an escort, but their night of fantasy fulfillment quickly takes a dark turn. Director Lindsay Boyd says though the play is a warning against letting money go to your head, it’s also commentary on people’s tendency to be blinded by insignificant things, which allows them to treat others poorly. “I want people to leave feeling like this is something that exists, this is a problem that exists that people aren’t paying attention to, that people just let slide because they’re Southern, or they’re white, or that’s just how they were raised.” 8 p.m. September 7. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and September 11; 3 p.m. September 17. September 7 through September 23. Beacon Theatre, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 281-972-5897 or visit conemanrunning.com. $20. — Natalie de la Garza

Architect-turned-transformational artist Gabriel de la Mora is big on looking at everyday objects — the fabric from radio speakers, the soles of shoes, matchbox edges and eggshells — and reimagining them as meticulously arranged paintings and sculptures. This is the fourth time the Mexican artist has shown at Houston's Sicardi Gallery and, this time around, it looks like de la Mora locked himself inside a science lab for weeks on end to create the icy-cool pieces fashioned from microscope coverslips. Both simple and elegant, the wall-hung objects in "Crystals of Inevidence" pair nicely with the concurrent exhibit, "Breather," a series of geometric oils by John Sparagana, chair of the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Rice University. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. September 7 through October 19. Sicardi Gallery, 1506 West Alabama. For information, call 713-529-1313 or visit sicardi.com. Free — Susie Tommaney

Has it already been 12 years? One of our favorite neighborhood haunts in Midtown, Pub Fiction, is doing it up right for its Anniversary Bash. We're talking two hours of free appetizers starting at 5 p.m., a double-dare-ya wing-eating contest at 6:30 p.m., and front-row seats to the NFL opener on the television screens. As soon as the fourth quarter ends and the end zone dance winds down, the Houston Press concert series takes the stage with Max Stalling and DJ Qwest. Drink specials, good times and a chance to get out of the house and count our blessings — who could ask for anything more? 3 p.m. to midnight September 7. 2303 Smith. For information, call 713-400-8400 or visit pubfiction.com. No cover. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, September 8

Upcoming Events

Winner of the 2013 Pulitizer Prize for Drama, Disgraced, by Ayad Akhtar, tells the story of Amir Kapoor, a successful Pakistani-American corporate lawyer whose world is turned upside down when a dinner party forces him to re-evaluate the Muslim faith that he has so determinedly moved away from. Actor Gopal Divan plays the Amir role in the one-act season opener for the 4th Wall Theatre Company, and calls the role one of the most complex and diverse characters he’s ever seen written for a South Asian actor. “I’m not someone who’s Muslim. I wasn’t born a Muslim, but I keep playing these Muslim characters.” His character buys into the American Dream. “It’s that conflict between letting go of one identity, one sense of belonging, to belong to something else. He’s definitely veering toward the end of the spectrum for the American Dream, but certainly he’s still connected to his identity of being a Muslim, a devout Muslim at some deep-rooted level. That struggle between belonging and not fully knowing where he belongs made it very exciting.” 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through September 30. Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com. $32 general admission, $26 seniors, $17 students, $53 premiere and pay what you can on Monday, September 25. — Margaret Downing

We still can’t get enough of Prince, so River Oaks Theatre is bringing him back for one of its ever-popular midnight showings with Purple Rain. Released in 1984, the semi-autobiographical musical drama follows “The Kid” as he is torn between romance and his love for music and his rocky home life. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score — the last time the award was given — and forever left an imprint on a generation of adoring fans. The film includes many of Prince’s most memorable hits from a 30-plus-year career full of them: “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” “Darling Nikki,” “Baby I’m a Star,” “I Would Die 4 U” and the epic title track. 11:59 p.m. September 8. River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2175 or visit landmarktheatres.com/houston. $8 to $11. — Sam Byrd

Extroverted photographer Genevieve Gaignard is not afraid to strike a pose, but the Los Angeles-based performance artist takes it a step further, turning familiar iconography into uncomfortable vignettes through costumes, props and a heaping load of attitude. In one large-format print, she is a halo-adorned goddess of the bubble bath, in another she channels her inner Joan Crawford and there she stands in a third scene, wearing lavender slacks against a purple house and holding onto an enormous bin of cheese balls as she stares back at the viewer. "In Passing" is Gaignard's first solo exhibit outside California and it's paired with a best-of-the-best juried show titled "Learning Curve 10," featuring provocative works by the talented students at Houston Center for Photography. There's an opening reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. September 8, with an artist talk at 6 p.m. Continuing 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. September 8 through October 22. For information, call 713-529-4755 or visit hcponline.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Does the thought of board games make your eyes roll, or does it make you jump up and down with joy and excitement? If it's the latter, then head on over to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for Board Game Night, hosted by Tea & Victory, a board game cafe that's soon headed to H-Town. We're talking hundreds of board games and hopefully several Euro games like Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Carcassonne and Power Grid; basically anything with a designer name and lots of meeples and wooden bits. Grab a cold one from the bar and enjoy the company of friends both old and new. 5 to 10 p.m. September 8. 2000 Lyons. For information, visit teaandvictory.com or saintarnold.com. No cover. — Susie Tommaney

Note: This event has been postponed to October. A new date should be announced soon. The cream will rise to the top, and Houston's best storyteller is about to be crowned in the ultimate battle of wits and words. For ten grueling rounds of StorySLAM we've witnessed dramatic storytelling — sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking — and now the winners from those ten rounds are competing for the title of GrandSLAM Champion with a brand new story in the Houston Moth GrandSLAM III. Come hear these champs tell heart-stopping stories about taking chances, whether they aimed for the moon or crashed and burned. 7:30 p.m. September 8. University of Houston, Cullen Performance Hall. 4300 University. For information, visit themoth.org/events/out-on-a-limb-1. $18 to $25. — Susie Tommaney



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