21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Big Cats, Who Dat & the Aluminum Show

The Houston Symphony kicks off its new lecture series with On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars & Snow Leopards, featuring wildlife photographer Steve Winter. Shown: Tigress cubs at waterhole, India, by Steve Winter.EXPAND
The Houston Symphony kicks off its new lecture series with On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars & Snow Leopards, featuring wildlife photographer Steve Winter. Shown: Tigress cubs at waterhole, India, by Steve Winter.
Photo by Steve Winter

Tuesday, October 25

Award-winning conservation photographer Steve Winter kicks off a new lecture series with the Houston Symphony. This time the musicians are taking a break, allowing the photographers and their images to take center stage. Winter will tell stories of his time in the trenches. (His biography references being "attacked by rhinos in India, stalked by jaguars in Brazil, charged by an 11-foot grizzly in Siberia, and trapped in quicksand" in a Myanmar tiger reserve.) Those attending On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars & Snow Leopards might even recognize an image or two; his 2007 photograph of a snow leopard in Indian mountains has been loaded onto every Apple computer produced since 2015. 7:30 p.m. October 25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $15 to $65. —Susie Tommaney

It’s a classic work that was definitely on Broadway veteran Felicia Finley’s bucket list, so she jumped at the opportunity to be part of the upcoming Theatre Under The Stars production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. She plays Hedy LaRue, mistress to the boss, J.B. Biggley, and new secretary in the offices of the World Wide Wicket Company. Based on a 1952 book, the musical first opened in 1961 and pinpoints a time when “The women are all secretaries and the men are all in the offices,” Finley says. It’s the story of a lowly window washer who reads a book that describes (as it turns out) successful get-ahead strategies that enable him to climb the company ladder. One-liners abound and are dealt out as fast as his upward scramble as he flits (like a bird) from job to job. Despite some of the dated concepts, Finley promises plenty of hilarity. “It has a swagger to it; it’s savvy.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. October 25 through November 6. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $38.50 to $125. —Margaret Downing

We've seen his logically cool take as Spock; we've watched him think circles around his colleagues in Sherlock. Now see Benedict Cumberbatch as the bewildered Creature, cast out into a hostile world by his creator Victor Frankenstein (Jonny Lee Miller). Presented by National Theatre Live with BY Experience and Fathom Events, view a taped broadcast of Frankenstein on the big screen; it was a sell-out when it hit the London stage in 2011. Directed by Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs), this is a one-night-only opportunity to view this darkly disturbing tale with world-class actors. 7 p.m. October 25. 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, October 26

“It was literally a perfect storm of all that is broken about the criminal justice system,” says attorney Brian Stolarz, author of Grace and Justice On Death Row: The Race Against Time and Texas to Free an Innocent Man, of Alfred Dewayne Brown’s case. Brown, Stolarz’s client and friend, spent ten years on death row in Texas for a murder he didn’t commit. Armed with only a court-appointed attorney, Brown entered a system where exculpatory documents were withheld and a state doctor falsified his I.Q. test results so he could meet the minimum I.Q. to be executed. Stolarz calls this sort of hasty, malformed conviction and sentencing the “fast food death penalty.” It’s a shockingly contemporary term for a seemingly prosaic injustice. But, as Stolarz shows in his book, it fits neatly into the present-day criminal justice system. 7 p.m. October 26. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. —Katricia Lang

The Kemah Boardwalk invites the adventurous to take a stroll through the dark side of reality with its Dungeon of Doom, a half-mile walk featuring scenes that inspire screams and nightmares. Face your fears with this crazy attraction peppered with the thrills and chills October is so famous for bringing. But why just settle for a haunted house when there’s so much more to celebrate? The boardwalk packs in movie screenings on Fridays, games on the main plaza on Saturdays, and live music on Sundays. For the little ones who might not enjoy things that go bump in the night, there also is a Little Boo Haunted Fun House, complete with pumpkin decorating and youngster-minded activities. Jim Doering, general manager, sums it up by saying, “It’s an all-around good family event. People can enjoy the scares as well as the fall outdoor temperatures.” 6 to 10 p.m. October 26 and 27; 6 to 11 p.m. October 28; 2 p.m. to midnight October 29; 2 to 10 p.m. October 30; 4 to 11 p.m. October 31. Kemah Boardwalk, #8 Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah. For information, call 281-535-8100 or visit dungeonofdoomkemah.com. $5 to $34.99. —Sam Byrd

Thursday, October 27

Even those who didn’t live in Austin in 1991 still hear the words “yogurt shop” and automatically finish the phrase with “murders.” A new book by Austin-based writer Beverly Lowry, WHO KILLED THESE GIRLS? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders, covers the horrible night 25 years ago when four high school girls were murdered in the I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! store in Austin. The author digs deep into the still unresolved murders of Eliza Thomas, Amy Ayers (sometimes spelled Ayres) and sisters Jennifer and Sarah Harbison, chronicling the initial eight-year investigation that resulted in the arrest of four men in their early twenties. It was a difficult case for the police, with thousands of tips and more than 50 individuals confessing to the crime, tainted further by a heavy-handed cop who coerced a confession by aiming his gun at one of the accused. Years later, DNA evidence pointed to a fifth and possibly a sixth assailant, muddying the waters and leaving everybody still wondering “Who killed these girls?” While the book doesn’t contain photographs, it’s a comprehensive retelling of the long and complicated legal process and includes 2016 updates of the suspects and family members. Lowry will read from her book and sign copies at Brazos Bookstore. 7 p.m. October 27, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. —Susie Tommaney

In a world of fools, a jester may be a scholar. With our own reality plunging further into crazytown, maybe it’s time for a little bit of escapist silliness. Enter The Judgment of Fools, the latest “vaudevillian social experiment” from Horse Head Theatre Company. Utilizing the world of clowning, improv and commedia dell’arte, the Bernardo Cubría play is getting a perfectly timed regional debut this close to election day. “It’s not entirely a coincidence we’re putting up this play now,” says Philip Hays, who directs. Though not a traditional improv show, the play does have a trained improviser as the lead. “It’s not ‘give us a suggestion and watch us build’; it’s more ‘we’ll build your suggestion,’” says Hays. “Obviously, [Brendon Duran] has improv skills useful for those moments when the script is unscripted, but he’s also super-bright and passionate about issues. Even though this play is interactive, bumbling underneath this is a show about people.” 8 p.m. October 27 and 28, and November 3, 9, 10 and 11; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturdays. October 27 through November 12. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 281-381-4166 or visit horseheadtheatre.org. $25 to $45. —Vic Shuttee

Aluminum: known to most as only oh-so-average tin foil. But did you know that aluminum has quite the personality? In fact, the boronic element is getting its own one-of-a-kind extravaganza by way of Israeli theater director Ilan Azriel. “Aluminum has so many qualities,” Azriel says, praising the metal’s movement and shine. “This is an amazing material and together with the talented performers and unique lighting, this show is truly visually exciting.” The Aluminum Show, presented by Wells Fargo, has been in development since 2002 and is a unique blend of dancing, music, puppetry, comedy and neat-o light tricks that really brings something new. “This show takes the audiences on a magical tour to a different planet,” Azriel claims. “One man’s journey to a parallel universe made entirely of aluminum. Pipes come to life, transforming into [these] imaginary, mysterious, playful characters.” Beyond spectacle, Azriel says this dizzying circus of imagination also boasts an eco-friendly message. “We live in a world of mass-production high consumption,” Azriel says. “I hope the take-home message is: Use your imagination. Once you see the life inside materials, you [might] be more open to the idea of reusing them.” 7:30 p.m. October 27 and 28. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free. —Vic Shuttee

Girl power is riding high over at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, bringing über-talents from our local arts scene together for another rendition of “Right Here, Right Now,” this time with solo shows by Thedra Cullar-Ledford, Susie Rosmarin and Amy Blakemore. Rosmarin's “Lines and Grids: The Lost Decade and Beyond” exhibit contains roughly 25 works on display (drawings, paintings and sculpture), ranging from the late 1980s to 2015, showing the evolution and trajectory of her work, says Valerie Cassel Oliver, CAMH senior curator and curator of Rosmarin's show. Often categorized as Op Art, Rosmarin's pieces appeal to both arts aficionados and math junkies. “It's easy to think that a lot of her paintings are machine generated; they're so densely layered,” says Cassel Oliver. “She uses numeric formulas to create compositions.” There's a conversation with Rosmarin and Cassel Oliver at 6:30 p.m. October 27. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose. The exhibit continues 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through November 27. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit camh.org. Free. —Susie Tommaney

Friday, October 28

Aging and disappointed in life, Faust sells his soul to the devil — Mephistopheles — in return for youth and the chance to gain the affections of a beautiful young woman. The deal, of course, goes bad long before he is dragged away to hell, but Gounod’s adaptation of Goethe’s play has all the right parts for tragic opera: an arresting story and beautiful music. “It’s the story of us, human beings. We are on a quest for our meaning on Earth. Which direction are we going? What can we do?” says Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, who is making his debut in the Mephistopheles role. Houston favorite Ana María Martinez sings the role of Marguerite, who falls in love with Faust thanks to the jewels he gives her. Tenor Michael Fabiano (winner of both the Richard Tucker and the Beverly Sills artist award in the same year) is Faust, and Pisaroni says their scene in the first act “is one of the best ever written for a tenor and a bass.” Sung in French with English projections. 7:30 p.m. October 28 and November 5, 8 and 11; 2 p.m. October 30. Houston Grand Opera, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $15 to $354. —Margaret Downing

Double, double toil and trouble: A new take on old Macbeth, on the double. Theatre Southwest is offering up a modern twist on an Elizabethan standard with Eric Coble’s Bright Ideas, which is marketed as a black comedy about elite preschools and loosely based on the Bard’s work. Director John Patterson credits his extensive experience with the doomed Scot as a reason he got hired (he’s done it twice in two years). For those less familiar with MacDuff and the gang, fear not: “I actually don’t think its necessary to know [Macbeth] at all,” he says. “There are a lot of callbacks; he borrows a couple of the lines as little ‘gotchas’ — but you could go into this knowing nothing and still have a pretty good time.” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. November 6. October 28 through November 19. 8944-A Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit theatresouthwest.org. $16 to $18. —Vic Shuttee

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