21 Best Things to Do in Houston this Week: Live Television, Snow Magic and Festivus

Live from Houston it's Lawndale Live – an hour-long show with band, studio audience and cameras – featuring the unique perspective of actor, reality TV contestant and failed congressional candidate Maurice Duhon Jr.EXPAND
Live from Houston it's Lawndale Live – an hour-long show with band, studio audience and cameras – featuring the unique perspective of actor, reality TV contestant and failed congressional candidate Maurice Duhon Jr.
Photo courtesy of Maurice Duhon, Jr.

Tuesday, December 20

Honeys, hold onto your husbands during this holiday performance, because these ladies come with a little extra stuffing in their stockings. RuPaul’s Drag Race’s most notable characters are making a cross-country tour de drag, and the girls have planned a special stop in Houston for Murray and Peter’s A Drag Queen Christmas.
Showing off their talents are Season Eight winner Bob the Drag Queen, runners-up Kim Chi and Naomi Smalls, and sixth-place finisher Thorgy Thor, plus runway divas Milk, Trixie Mattel, Pearl and Roxxxy Andrews. The queens are serving fierce makeup, severe comedy, over-the-top choreography, elegant costumes, legendary lip-syncing and audience participation — with just a dash of shade. As always, dress for the occasion. Before you sashay away from the house, make sure to listen to the words of the perennial favorite, “Deck the Halls,” and don your gay apparel. 8 p.m. December 20. Houston of Blues, 1204 Caroline. For information, call 888-402-5837 or visit houseofblues.com/houston. $20 to $150. — Sam Byrd

With the holiday concert Love Divine, Cantare Houston continues a decade-long annual tradition and partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “The combination of art and music is so intertwined, it elevates the music we sing,” says Amy Solberg, artistic director for the choral group. The program incorporates contemporary and classic Christmas fare, but the main event is Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs.” Only during December can music organizations present Stanford motets and “I Wander as I Wander” alongside Hebrew poems. ’Tis the season. “We relate so much of the feeling of Christmas or the feeling of the holidays with the words we hear and, even if we aren’t raised in the church, we recognize the carols that are sung on the radio, whether they’re sacred or secular,” says Solberg. “There’s something about those familiar tunes and the storytelling.” 7:30 p.m. December 20. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-724-9648 or visit cantarehouston.org. $10 to $40. — Katricia Lang

Attending one of BooTown’s Grown-Up Storytime nights is sort of like hanging out with friends and hearing about bowel movements, bad hook-ups and really embarrassing moments. Held once a month, the formula stays the same – half a dozen or so original stories read aloud – but the readers, writers and emcee always change. At GUST 96, we heard Cub Justice, Beers and Tears and Monstronaut. We’re not sure what stories will be told at GUST 97, but it’s sure to be current, a bit off-color, and almost always includes something written by John Wayne Communale. While there’s an occasional goose egg, those tend to happen early on; the writing gets better as the night progresses, with the seasoned writers stacked to close the show. It’s funny to watch when the personality of the reader doesn’t exactly line up with the voice of the writer, and the talent pool is sometimes a bit uneven, but it’s always entertaining. When it’s firing on all cylinders, however, with brilliant writing, a gifted reader and an audience half-drunk, it’s awesome stuff. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. December 20. Rudyard’s Pub, 2010 Waugh. For information call 832-541-2861 or visit bootown.org. $5. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, December 21

What do an ampersand, a curious cat and a woman sawing some guy’s legs off all have in common? Each was the subject of a short film made entirely on a mobile device for Rec Room’s first cell phone film festival. The seasonal fest returns for the Winter le Film Festival de Mobile Phone, because Rec Room co-founder Stephanie Wittels Wachs says the venue “wanted to create something everyone could do, even if you don’t define yourself as a filmmaker or an artist.” She says everyone has a cell phone and, between Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, everybody is “like a little filmmaker now.” Films vie for best short, best feature length (more than three minutes) and fan favorite honors. She describes the fall fest’s winning film, Dawn, as a fascinating ten-minute exploration of the moment before two people say something to each other. Everyone — winners, losers and guests — can walk the red carpet here. 8 to 9 p.m. December 21. 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. $5. — Natalie de la Garza

Since moving to Los Angeles at the age of 21, Houston native Steven “Guero” Charles has performed with plenty of luminaries: Beyoncé, Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber. This weekend, the now 25-year-old professional dancer returns to his hometown to present an innovative dance project titled Awaken. He has envisioned this night for more than a year, with hopes that it will heal and re-energize the dancers and audience members alike. “Some people are losing their fire that they once had to dance and perform,” he says of those he grew up with, “and nobody’s doing anything about it.” Deciding to step in, Charles gathered a cast of 34 dancers from Houston and Los Angeles to create a collaborative experience of learning and inspiration. He says it “lifts you up” to see somebody committing his entire self to something he loves. 8:30 p.m. December 21 and 22. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org. $20 to $25. — Lawrence Elizabeth Knox


Thursday, December 22

Straight out of Houston, it’s Lawndale Live. Already known for its eclectic array of homegrown entertainments including last month’s Zine Fest Houston and an anything goes comedy club, Lawndale Art Center has been trying something new this fall, positioning an hour-long show – with band, studio audience and cameras – into the crowded world of talk shows. Featuring the unique perspective of actor, reality TV contestant and failed congressional candidate Maurice Duhon, Jr. (music insiders know him as the rapper Cornbreadd), Thursday's season finale features music by Fat Tony (also a rapper and not the Simpsons character), plus special guest appearances. Expect some sort of collaboration between host Duhon and the series’ band leader, Jawwaad, the locally famous hip-hop trumpeter known for his work with The Young Mothers, Shape of Broad Minds and Black Fetish. 7 to 7:45 p.m. December 22. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit lawndaleartcenter.org. Free. — Vic Shuttee

Everybody can be an artist at the All Access Art Show Winter Edition, a quarterly event that's bringing back the Traveling Live Art Canvas, which curator Tajay Byrd says was a big hit during the fall show. “Come and paint on the huge collage; we'll make a video,” says Byrd. “We have a bar, food, music, entertainment, our emcee, giveaways, raffles, all kinds of stuff. In the middle, we'll put a Christmas tree.” The first 100 guests who bring an unwrapped toy will receive a drink ticket, and entertainment includes an interactive media room and jams by the Houston Motion Band. Byrd says that more than 600 people viewed work by 30 vendors and artists at the last show. The Winter Edition is co-presented by Byrd, Malik McGhie and HighHopes Clothing. 7 p.m. to midnight December 22. HESS Club, 5430 Westheimer. For information, call 281-736-7706 or 832-593-1710 or visit allaccessartshow/eventbrite.com. $10 to $15. — Susie Tommaney

When the Eritrea-born, Italy-raised filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi dropped into Lampedusa, he expected to grab enough footage for a quick-and-dirty short that would confirm to him (and many others) that, yes, the Mediterranean Sea island is nothing but a mixture of migrant shipwrecks, states of emergencies and populist uprisings. But then Rosi fell ill and went to the only doctor on the island, who, as it turns out, had been at every landing of rescued migrants from Africa over the past 30 years. The two got to talking and Rosi spent a year in Lampedusa. The result is Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare), a 108-minute, commentary-free documentary (in Italian with English subtitles) — and an award winner at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival. The documentary captures two worlds (inhabitants and migrants) who are very much separated from one another, despite the tight island quarters. 7 p.m. December 22. Continuing 7 p.m. January 13 and 5 p.m. January 15. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. — Steve Jansen

Station Theater loves improv, and has recently developed a new way to play with one of long-form’s most popular formats: the La Ronde. In SpaceCat Labs presentation of LaRonde & Aronde, Station coach Angela Mayans Lee thinks it's time to resurrect the genius of 19th century playwright Arthur Schnitzler. “In a typical La Ronde, the first set of two person scenes, they set up the world,” she says. “And in the second act, we see all the characters interact with one another in different combinations, and that’s how we further the narrative. [Here], we simply repeat the first act over and over again, and we get to see how the characters affect each other without meeting.” Working with a set team of Houston's funniest including Chuck Stanfield, Jesse Garson and Lisa Beckman, this Thursday's show opens with laughs from Ophelia's Rope (Autumn Clack and Ruth S McCleskey) and Austin-based improv troupe, Babysitter. 8:30 to 10 p.m. December 22. Station Theater, 1230 Houston. For information, call 832-786-0413 or visit stationtheater.com. $6 to $8. — Vic Shuttee

Holiday shopping is for the birds, but birds make the perfect gift for hard-to-please loved ones. We're in the final days of "Contemporary Texas Regionalism: A Holiday Show" over at William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art, and Texas art just might be the one-stop answer to completing that holiday shopping list. There's Lee Jamison's Don't Dawdle with ducklings in tow for new parents, Fidencio Duran's nostalgic Al Norte about country life with yard chickens for Grandpa, Keith Davis's rugged wood relief Owl and Roadrunner for Uncle Bob, Debbie Stevens's kissing birds for newlyweds and Margie Crisp's saturated watercolors of birds for Auntie. Even the prankster in the family will smile with William Young's playful Like Singing Backwards, where tweeting birds join howling dogs in an optical illusion universe. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 22-23. 2143 Westheimer. For information, call 713-521-7500 or visit reavesart.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney



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