21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Defective Comedy and Jerry Seinfeld

Comedian Christopher Titus brings his one-man show, Born With a Defect, to Houston Improv this weekend.
Comedian Christopher Titus brings his one-man show, Born With a Defect, to Houston Improv this weekend.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Titus

Tuesday, January 10

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. For more than 20 years, David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes have spent their time capturing breathtaking photos to help tell the story of marine life and everything that happens under the sea. They’ll be in Houston for a lecture titled Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice, the second installment of National Geographic Live’s four-part series, with the goal of sparking understanding about the world around us. “We photographed everything starting at the equator and working our way to both of the poles,” says Hayes. “We take the audience on a journey from the coral reefs of Papua, New Guinea, to under the Arctic ice where we meet a lot of cool creatures. What we’re doing is telling the ‘real’ story behind the story: the good, the bad, the ugly, the humiliating, the successes and the failures.” 7:30 p.m. January 10. Houston Symphony, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $15 to $65. — Sam Byrd

Two book deals came together at once for Gary Clark and Kathy Adams Clark, forcing them, in an effort to meet the accelerated deadline (which they did), to tour around Texas just a little bit. “We drove 6,000 miles in three loops in seven months,” says Kathy Clark, the photographer for Backroads of Texas: Along the Byways to Breathtaking Landscapes and Quirky Small Towns and Book of Texas Birds. Her husband, Gary Clark, an avid birder, is the main scribe for Texas Birds and tells us, “I didn’t want to write a typical field guide. There are a gazillion of those, where there’s a photo of a bird and sidebar of facts. I wanted to write a narrative of facts because you reach more people with stories. To me, every bird has a story.” Kathy supplied the images for each, including Backroads, which takes readers off the interstate and into some of Texas’s weirdest spots. 7 p.m. January 10. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. — Steve Jansen

Wednesday, January 11

Not only did John Biggers leave his mark on Texas Southern University, but the muralist and educator also inspired generations of emerging and established artists during his 34 years as a professor. Now Sally Reynolds has tracked down almost two dozen of his former students, ranging in age from their fifties to their nineties, in curating a new exhibition for Arts Brookfield, “On My Journey Now — The Legacy of John Biggers,” which includes early works by Biggers. “One of the collectors said to me, ‘There will never be another exhibit like this,’” says Reynolds. “[Biggers] always communicated to his students that everyone is on their journey and it’s an important journey to take.” Expect to see universal themes of man’s connection with nature and the universe, as well as feminine symbols of birth and rebirth. There’s an opening reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. January 18. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. January 11. Continuing 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. January 11 through April 3. Two Allen Center. For information, visit artsbrookfield.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, January 12

Beethoven took his disgust with a ruling tyrant — Napoleon Bonaparte — and turned it into his last piano concerto, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Opus 73, more commonly known as the Emperor. Though he was disillusioned by Bonaparte’s destruction of his homeland, Vienna, the composition instead projects both strength and optimism. The Houston Symphony is presenting Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with internationally acclaimed pianist Behzod Abduraimov, making his Houston Symphony debut, and guest conductor James Gaffigan of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. Strauss (Don Juan, Opus 20) and Liszt (Les préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3) round out the program. Kristen Bennett, Houston Symphony’s public relations coordinator, says, “The technicality of the Emperor piano concerto — paired with Strauss’s adventurous tone poem, Don Juan, and the beauty of Liszt’s Préludes — will surely inspire everyone present.” 8 p.m. January 12 and 14, 2:30 p.m. January 15. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $136. — Natalie de la Garza

Friday, January 13

No subject is taboo for comedian Christopher Titus: He's tackled racism, domestic violence and his own biggest screw-ups, including an early stint portraying Darth Vader for children's birthday parties. His sixth comedy special, Angry Pursuit of Happiness, premiered on Comedy Central in 2015, daring to poke fun at the Pope, his father's ED problem and, in the darkest of humor, the Boston Marathon bombing. In spite of having a deep well of material from which to draw upon, he prefers to deliver new content while on tour; Titus in the past has told us he doesn't want to be "that guy." He hates seeing comics stuck in a rut, dredging up jokes so old the comedy club waitresses are mouthing the act. For this weekend's stop in Houston, Titus is performing his newest one-man show, Born With a Defect, which he promotes as 90 minutes of "therapy" for parents and "birth control" for childless couples. 8 and 10:30 p.m. January 13, 7 and 9:30 p.m. January 14, 7:30 p.m. January 15. Improv Houston, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $25 to $35. — Susie Tommaney

Instead of dinner and a movie, how about lunch and some performance art? Choreographer, dancer and singer Marisol Monasterio, named one of Houston Press’s 100 Creatives in 2012, has developed a new multicultural dance titled Towards the Gypsy Roads (Hacia los Caminos Gitanos). It’s one of the first offerings in the month-long Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre, presented by the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, as part of its “Arts in the Afternoon” initiative. “She has really taken the flamenco and shown how all these different cultures came together,” says ERJCC dance director Maxine Silberstein, of the mash-up of Ladino poetry, Sephardic and Flamenco dance, Spanish guitar and the raw vocals of cante hondo (deep singing). Dance Month continues through February 12 with film, master classes, performance art and workshops. 1 p.m. January 13. 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-729-3200 or visit erjcchouston.org/dancemonth. $8 to $12. — Katricia Lang

Upcoming Events

Balé Folclórico da Bahia returns to Houston with the fiery heat of Brazilian folk dances, samba-reggae and capoeira, performing works inspired by the creation of the universe (as interpreted by the African religion Candomblé) and the seductive goddess of the sea, Lemanjá, often summoned by fishermen hoping for an abundant catch. In addition to music that draws from traditional Bahian folklore, compositions include works by Antônio Portella, Jorge Paim and the rhythmic beats of Carnaval. “The company will complete its 29 years of existence this year in August,” says Walson Botelho, company founder, general director and co-choreographer. “And for all this time the challenge remains the same: Bringing [Bahian popular cultural] values to the whole world, spreading our authentic and traditional culture.” The 38-member group of dancers, musicians and singers, under the artistic direction of José Carlos Arandiba, have performed in more than 200 cities across the United States since debuting here in 1996. 8 p.m. January 13. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $43 to $103. — Katricia Lang

Two years ago, Shabach Enterprise’s S. Denise O’Neal realized two things: Houston had no platform to showcase new works from black playwrights, and she found most reading series boring. So the Fade to Black Reading Series (her two-birds, one-stone solution), now in its second year, is more like a workshop with a DJ where actors can go off-book and use a prop or two. O’Neal has selected nine plays — some topical, some controversial — but each, O’Neal says, brings the series closer to representing “the fullness of the African-American experience.” She singles out Cops Lives Matter by Ishmon Brown, a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner-style set-up from the perspective of a white cop meeting his black girlfriend’s family for the first time. “I have to be brave enough to let it flow, bold enough to put it onstage.” 8 p.m. January 13 and 14. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit fadetoblackfest.com. $15. — Natalie de la Garza

In a family of overachievers, it’s hard to stand out, but Daniel “Danny” Simmons Jr. succeeded as artist, philanthropist, co-founder of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, gallerist and poet. But it’s his persona as neo-African Abstract Expressionist that brings the older brother of hip-hop’s Russell Simmons and rapper Joseph Simmons (“Rev. Run” of Run DMC) to the Houston Museum of African American Culture in “BADASS ART MAN: A Conversation Between the Art of Danny Simmons and his Collection.” John Guess Jr., HMAAC’s CEO, says that Danny reflected on both his own works and his collection to come to the realization, “You know, I’m a badass art man.” Guess describes the 40-object exhibit — which includes photography, African sculpture and works by artists such as Mickalene Thomas and Kara Walker — as an investigation into Danny and what makes him tick. There’s an artist talk at 1 p.m. January 14. Continuing 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. January 13 through February 25. 4807 Caroline. For information, call 713-526-1015 or visit hmaac.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Similar to Mary Poppins' magical carpet bag, EaDo Playhouse is attempting the impossible, cramming the entire history of the Great White Way into Every Broadway Musical Ever the "musical." Heads will be reeling as the breathless cast rushes, in 60 seconds or less, to summarize and sing their way through Broadway favorites including The Beggar's Opera, Oklahoma!, Paint Your Wagon, Spring Awakening (which they're launching at the end of this month) and Kismet. It's not all reminiscing, though. Audience members also get a preview from Hamilton, which should tide us over as we, patiently, wait for it to come to Houston in April 2018. The cabaret-style production is brought to us by Luke Hamilton and company, presented in two 45-minute acts. 8 p.m. January 13 and 14, 5 p.m. January 15. 2619 McKinney. For information, call 832-210-5200 or visit EaDoPlayhouse.com. $25. — Susie Tommaney



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