As October arrives this weekend, you may be looking for a reason to get out of the house – without breaking the bank, of course – and we’ve got ten, from a “Textoberfest” in Tomball and the hippest of flea markets downtown to an unplugged concert on the Green and some classically arranged video-game music at St. Thomas. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — in fact, all of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
Banned Books Week 2017: Read. Resist.
7 p.m. Thursday, free
A Bad Kitty Christmas was once banned from a Beaumont elementary school because it mentioned a family with two moms; a reference book on the Salem Witch Trials was kept out of a school in Pharr for being too violent; and a Channelview mother successfully had The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby banned from her son’s elementary school because of language – specifically, the phrase “poo poo head.” If these sound ridiculous to you, head over to Brazos to hear local authors and Houston librarians read from some of their favorite challenged and banned books in honor of Banned Books Week. Dress as your favorite controversial character – you’ve got options, from Huckleberry Finn to a hobbit – and enjoy themed snacks while taking Instax pics with your favorite banned or challenged book.
MECA 40th Anniversary ¡Celebracíon!
7:30 p.m. Thursday, free
Hard to believe, but MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts) turns the big four-oh this year, and you can join the celebracíon at the MECA 40th anniversary concert. Forty years means there’s a lot to choose from for this retrospective – both in terms of medium and artists – and on the program is the music of Robert Avalon, MECA's first-ever music director; an excerpt from Peter Webster's bilingual adaptation of Romeo and Juliet; performances by MECA Ballet Folklórico; gospel from Cleola Williams; the San Francisco-based spoken-word poet and theater artist Paul Flores; and multiple MECA alums taking the stage for a night that has truly been 40 years in the making.
Coming Attractions: A Film Poster Show
7 p.m. Friday, free
Celebrate the art of the film poster with new work from more than 30 artists, including Brennan Burch's Haunted Fortress of Doom (Burch also organized the show), street artist Eyesore, illustrator and designer Jade O’Lantern, tattoo artist Bonnie Boatwright, and Pulp 21's Chet Presley and Pizo Meyer – to name a few. And, in keeping with the theme, they will also be screening short films by Space City Chronicles, Roxxy Haze and Ned Gayle, who was named one of our 100 Creatives in 2013. Eureka Heights Brew Co will be on hand to provide complimentary booze, Bohemeo's is right next door if you get hungry or need a caffeine fix, and all – friends, family, kids, dogs – are welcome.
Beetles, Brew & Barbecue
Tomball’s Historic Downtown Depot
11:30 a.m. Saturday, free
It’s (almost) October, so why not check out a “Textoberfest” in Tomball this weekend? The City of Tomball and the North Houston VW Club promise to display more than 150 of one of Germany’s greatest contributions to the world – the Volkswagen Beetle. This year marks the VW Club’s 24th annual show and while they give out over 40 awards and trophies to the cars, you can enjoy live music, Texas-style barbecue, a kids zone, vendors and the wares of local brewers like Saint Arnold, Karbach and Copperhead. You may even pick up something nice as a door prize, in a goodie bag or maybe some samples and gift certificates.
Mogtet: An Afternoon of Video Game Music for Piano and String Quartet
University of St. Thomas - Cullen Hall
4 p.m. Saturday, free
Ever find yourself sitting on the couch playing Final Fantasy and think, as the battle rages against the Manasvin Warmech, that “Blinded by Light” would sound great stripped down, piano and string quartet only? Well, lucky you. Mogtet, a group of classically-trained musicians that specialize in video game music (with a subspecialty in the music of RPGs) will put on quite the show Saturday afternoon at St. Thomas with a set including familiar motifs like “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts, “Land of Glaze” from Bravely Default, “Breath of the Wild” from The Legend of Zelda and more from RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles and NieR. And if you’re not a video-game fan? You can still enjoy some good music.
BCO Graffiti Art & Bike Ride
Market Square Park
1 p.m. Sunday, free
Houston boasts some of the best urban artists in the world and Bayou City Outdoors invites you to experience the best of their work on the BCO Graffiti Art & Bike Ride. Pedal past Daniel “Weah” Anguilu’s “Greetings from Houston” mural or Anat Ronen’s 40-foot-long armadillo, or maybe the “Hummingbird Wall” on Navigation, and be ready to snap a few pictures. No bike? No problem, just pick one up from a B-Cycle kiosk or Bike Barn. And then, after a long afternoon of exercise and culture, make plans to end the day with your new art cycling friends at Niko Niko’s for a little Greek food.
Hip Hop Flea Market
Remax Building/Graff Lot
2 p.m. Sunday, free
Harvey may have stopped the first Hip Hop Flea Market, but this Sunday, not only is it on like Donkey Kong, the vintage market will close the Bgirl City Weekend, a three-day celebration of the ladies of hip hop, from female DJs to graffiti artists. So now you can peruse the selection of ‘80s and ‘90s throwback gear while also seeing live battles, listening to great music and – for the brave – participating in free toprock or breaking workshops. Saint Arnold is bringing enough beer for everyone, and if you get hungry, Popston, Planet Churro and Boombox Taco have you covered.
Folk Family Revival, Another Run, Deep Cuts, Guilla and Boomtown Brass Band
5 p.m. Sunday, free
Canned Acoustica returns to the Green this week with five more acts taking the unforgiving unplugged concert stage: Magnolia’s Folk Family Revival; Another Run, a former Houston Press Music Award-winner for Best Modern/Alternative Rock Band; Deep Cuts, who’ll be opening for Cults on their Texas swing this fall; traditional jazz ensemble Boomtown Brass Band; and rapper Guilla, who recently announced that all the proceeds from his new EP, SauDaDes, would be donated right to the Houston Food Bank. And don’t forget, if you’re coming to the show, to bring a non-perishable food item for the Houston Food Bank too.
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A Rift in the Earth book signing
7 p.m. Monday, free
The questions around the construction of a Vietnam War memorial in 1981 were difficult: How do we memorialize a war – the first war – America lost? And who should get to decide? James Reston, Jr. takes us back 36 years in A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial to a time when Yale undergrad Maya Lin’s winning design, a simplistic anti-monument to some, chosen by a panel with no Vietnam veterans, “sparked what may have been the first, and arguably the angriest, of America’s ‘art wars’ — even including today’s bitter disputes over Confederate war memorials.” Reston’s newest book is not only timely, it’s also the perfect complement to Ken Burns’s ten-part documentary on the Vietnam War, airing now on PBS.
Robert Ellis with the Texas Gentlemen
6 p.m. Wednesday, free
The party returns to the Avenida Houston Plaza this fall, and Robert Ellis with the Texas Gentlemen will kick things off Wednesday night. Houston’s own Ellis has been described as “the kind of artist that a descriptive like ‘Americana’ can only partially serve; what he takes from obvious inspirations like Paul Simon, Charlie Rich and Joni Mitchell is as much a commitment to musical eclecticism as a facility for storytelling” while the Gents, with their rotating roster of musicians, was called the “most exciting and promising country act to emerge from Dallas in recent years” by Guide Live. The “Party on the Plaza” continues all fall long with artists like The Tontons, The Old 97s and Reverend Horton Heat.