21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Avant-garde Art and Naughty Reindeer

The Transitory Sound and Movement Collective premieres a new collaborative work in Take the J Train.EXPAND
The Transitory Sound and Movement Collective premieres a new collaborative work in Take the J Train.
Photo by Ron Kiley

Tuesday, December 13

Nobody puts Lynn Lane in a corner. The multi-talented New York import has taken Houston by storm since moving here in 2010. You've seen his photographer's credit on images for the Alley Theatre and Houston Grand Opera, and the Houston Press keeps thinking up new ways to say bravo: Best Photographer in 2015's Best Of Houston®, 100 Creatives and our 2014 list of Houston's Top 10 Photographers. He is showing his sound and multimedia artistic side this week, under the moniker of The Transitory Sound and Movement Collective, rounding up a few musicians and dancers for the premiere of a new collaborative work, Take the J Train. Mix in a little spoken word, some soundscape and field recordings, and a film by Ron Kiley, and you've got all the ingredients for an immersive and experimental avant-garde experience. 7:30 p.m. December 13. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. $10. — Susie Tommaney

It seems that every year the holiday decorations get bigger and better, and it’s that “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality that makes this time of year so great. Hop on The Wave’s 7th Annual Holiday Lights Tour for a rolling spectacle tour of the best and brightest. “We go to City Hall. Market Square also has great lights. We go to Discovery Green, and then we stake out lights in River Oaks beforehand, so we’re not driving around aimlessly. We vote on favorites, [go to] Woodland Heights, do the same thing,” says Lauren M. Barrash, founder and president. She says the buses are decorated for the holidays and, unless it’s really cold, they make stops for photo ops. Come early and get your grub on; several businesses at Market Square Park are giving food or drink discounts beforehand. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. December 13-15 and 20-22. Historic Market Square Park, 301 Milam. For information, visit thehoustonwave.com/events. $35. — Susie Tommaney

There is life after Star Trek, and the former Mr. Sulu proved the point when he took a run at Broadway to star in the musical Allegiance, inspired by true events after Pearl Harbor. During World War II, fear and suspicion were rampant, and an estimated 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced to leave their homes and reside in internment camps. Almost two-thirds of those internees were United State citizens and, as a child, Takei was among those incarcerated. Takei developed the musical which premiered in 2012 and Fathom filmed the production during its Broadway run. Now Allegiance: The Broadway Musical on the Big Screen is streaming to movie theaters for one night only. Fathom extras include behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and creators. 7:30 p.m. December 13. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for participating venues. $19.49. — Susie Tommaney

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, December 14

What's next for Bat Boy? We were both horrified yet fascinated when Colton Berry embodied the half feral/half human Edgar during this summer's musical romp. Berry has popped up again, this time in A New Brain, the debut production for EaDo Playhouse. Everything's new here: a new theater space, a kinda-sorta new play (more on that later) and a new incarnation for Berry. His unfulfilled character (Gordon Schwinn) writes music for a children's television show starring a giant frog named Mr. Bungee, but he's not happy about it. Diagnosed with a serious brain disease, Schwinn invites the audience into his brain in an emotional and comical journey. After falling into a coma, he begins to hallucinate scenes involving people in his life (including the talking frog) in what turns out to be a musical within a musical. The play (music and lyrics by William Finn, arrangements by Jason Robert Brown and book by Finn and James Lapine), has been updated by EaDo for this limited run engagement. 7:30 p.m. December 14. Continuing 7:30 p.m. December 15 and 18, 8 p.m. December 16, 2:30 and 8 p.m. December 17. 2619 McKinney. For information, call 832-210-5200 or visit EaDoPlayhouse.com. $25. — Susie Tommaney

Conspiracy theorists should enjoy the latest from New York Times bestselling author James Rollins. President-elect Donald J. Trump is certainly trending now, and the author has found a way to weave in his uncle, John G. Trump, a professor of engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who once led the National Defense Research Committee.The story goes that the committee was tasked with reviewing research by the late visionary genius, Nikola Tesla, and that a key notebook with evidence of a world-changing, never-before-seen energy source was not returned to Tesla's family. In The Seventh Plague, Rollins follows that thread, adding in a deadly organism that attacks male children and asking the question, could the biblical plagues of Egypt return on a global scale? Rollins will be reading from his book and signing copies at Murder By The Book. 6:30 p.m. December 14. 2342 Bissonnet Street. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Rec Room likes things weird. Now it’s producing the Weird Sh*t New Works Play Festival, which delves into the wacky imaginations of local playwrights. Organizer Grace Cunyas says the festival aims to fill a void in the Houston dramatic landscape. “We wanted to do a new-works festival solely dedicated to producing plays that can’t really be produced because of their weirdness. But also plays that are just good, you know?” Each date is different: There’s a new play slam, a couple of nights of ten-minute plays, and a closing night that doubles as a celebration of the fact that the school semester has finally ended. 8 p.m. December 14-16; 9 p.m. December 17. 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. $10. — Vic Shuttee

Thursday, December 15

A John Waters Christmas is quickly becoming an unlikely seasonal tradition in itself, one in which he rekindles the disappearing art of comic storytelling à la Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde, in order to wax acidic on the subject of holidays past and present, like a dapper Marley, except more prone to wit than whining. Waters’s polymath perversity looks its best when draped around archly traditional subjects. After all, he’s best known as the iconoclastic filmmaker who has basted genres in sleaze, like the trash Americana of Pink Flamingos; the mawkish rock and roll B-movie Hairspray; the venal, craven art world in Pecker; or the normative American nuclear family in Serial Mom, as well as for his own forays into art and literature as a primo collector and manufacturer of trash, kitsch and other tell-tale dross of the American dream. It’s one of those self-evident truths that every iconoclast needs icons to smash, so here comes Santa. In Mr. Waters’s words, and these must lie near the heart of Thursday’s show, Santa is the first lie that parents tell their children, the one that moves kids to completely mistrust authority and, later, to heroin and meth abuse. 8 p.m. December 15. The Heights Theater, 339 West 19th. For information, call 713-861-6070 or visit theheightstheater.com. $40 to $45. — Tex Kerschen

Before the holiday rush gets (more and more and) more chaotic, Aurora Picture Show is hosting its annual Holiday Party + Raffle and Art Auction, “a warm and fun holiday gathering of the Houston arts community in Aurora’s multi-use space on Bartlett,” says Peter Lucas of the nonprofit media arts center. A silent auction includes original works by Houston artists such as Jason Dibley, Daniel Heimbinder, Gabriel Martinez, Emily Peacock, Kelly Quarles, Patrick Renner, Krista Steinke, Lillian Warren and Pablo Gimenez Zapiola, while a raffle gives folks an opportunity to score gift certificates from local museums, arts organizations, indie businesses and one-off events such as a kids cooking class and a cocktail/animation party. The event’s backdrop features the screening of classic Christmas television clips; some spinning of soul-, jazz- and blues-tinged holiday tunes; and Double Trouble Caffeine and Cocktails and Phoenicia serving cocktails and snacks. 6 to 9 p.m. December 15. 2442 Bartlett Street. For more information, call 713-868-2101 or visit aurorapictureshow.org. Free. — Steve Jansen

We’re not sure what to expect when Lawndale Art Center turns itself into a comedy club, and that’s a good thing. Houston comedian Nick Meriwether and local filmmaker Emily Peacock are hosting a one-night stand-up showcase titled Lawndale Comedy Club, lining up both amateur and professional comics, as well as artists from other mediums trying their hand at the mike. “It’s an hour-and-a-half mixed bag,” says Peacock, who claims to be a total hobbyist when it comes to comedy. “But we’ve got Daniel Webb out of Austin, who is hilarious. In fact, this past summer Daniel got to fist-bump Obama [at his day job].” Talk about a presidential seal of approval. Filmmaker Stephanie Saint Sanchez is on deck, along with photography guru Vinod Hopson and artist Tony Sonnenberg, who will wear just about anything for art (and laughs). Expect a few other surprises before the curtain closes on this one. 8:30 p.m. December 15. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit lawndaleartcenter.org. $5. — Vic Shuttee

Chris D’Elia considers himself a stand-up first and an actor second. The comic turned TV star is known for headlining a string of short-lived comedies with talented fellow comics, including TBS’s Glory Daze (opposite Tim Meadows), NBC’s Whitney (co-created by Whitney Cummins) and, most recently, the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged live sitcom Undateable, which was inspired by the book Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do that Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex. With TV on hold for the moment, D’Elia will be showing Houston a good time with six shows at the Houston Improv. The Jersey-born comic has been telling jokes since he was 25, and is known for incorporating sarcasm and observational comedy into an appealing conversational style. 8 p.m. December 15, 8 and 10:30 p.m. December 16, 7 and 9:30 p.m. December 17, 7:30 p.m. December 18. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $30 to 50. — Vic Shuttee

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >