For the procrastinators who did their taxes or filed extensions Tuesday, it's going to be awhile before those refunds reach their accounts. Until that eagle lands, we'll be on the lookout for cheap ways to have a good time in the Bayou City. This week look for a mainstream flick with Johnny Depp, the return of New York pianist Adam Tendler, and the man of a thousand facts, Adam Bray, who seems to know just about everything related to Star Wars. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — and seven of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby Center presents: Finding Neverland
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Mason Park
7:30 p.m. Thursday, $5
We're all gearing up for the magical story of playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to find inspiration for his next big hit, which audiences know will eventually become the story of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys. Finding Neverland, the musical, is coming to Houston April 25-30 courtesy of BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby Center and, to whet our appetites, come view the power of make-believe adventure in this 2004 film starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet and Julie Christie presented in conjunction with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The flick is free, and your purchase of a $5 food and beverage voucher secures a spot to see all the pixie-dust magic on the big screen.
Battle on the Bay: The Civil War Struggle for Galveston
The Heritage Society
Noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Free to $5
As our vocabularies expand to include terms such as "Mother of All Bombs" and we try to second-guess our president's next move, thoughts turn to other unconventional wartime tactics. During the next Finger Lecture Series at The Heritage Society, military historian Ed Cotham will discuss a battle that took place much closer to home. On the morning of January 1, 1863, the Confederate forces managed to recapture Galveston from the Union Army in what has been described as one of the most unusual land and sea battles during the entire Civil War.
Adam Tendler, pianist
7 p.m. Thursday, $10 suggested donation
Environment is everything, and American pianist Adam Tendler is no stranger to performing in the meditative Rothko Chapel. The New Yorker returns to the venue in an enlightened program of "sonic clearings for reflection" that includes works by Nico Muhly, Earle Brown, Marina Poleukhina, Charlie Sdraulig, Morton Feldman and Philip Glass. This concert is free, but your $10 suggested donation helps support programs, workshops and events.
Gulf Coast Reading Series featuring Chen Chen, Niki Herd, Dan Chu and Dana Kroos
Rudyard's British Pub
7 to 9 p.m. Friday, free
As UH continues to crank out creative writers through its nationally acclaimed graduate program, we get a chance to hear these rising stars during the once-a-month reading series over at Rudz. This month's lineup includes Lubbock resident Chen Chen, author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities; two-time nominee for a Pushcart Prize and author of The Language of Shedding Skin Niki Herd; poet and editor Dan Chu; and Dana Kroos, who stays busy with short stories, poetry and ceramics.
"Fruits of Solitude"
6 to 8 p.m. Friday, free
Metaphysical searching is at the core of Caitlin G McCollom's conceptual paintings, some of which are on view in the "Fruits of Solitude" solo exhibition over at Capsule Gallery. She uses high-flow acrylic paints on polypropylene sheets (a.k.a. plastic paper) and swirls red and blue pigments into familiar shapes as if they were formed of blood and water. Come view these otherworldly paintings during the opening reception this Friday, but if you just can't make it, the show stays up through June 3.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
8 p.m. Saturday, free
It's a different sort of cowboy that will be celebrated when the all-male Argentinian dance company Che Malambo takes the stage this Saturday, bringing its precision footwork, rhythmic stomping, drumming and song to the hill. Percussive music and dance are at the heart of the South American gaucho (cowboy) tradition, dating back to competitive 17th-century duels that tested gauchos' agility, strength and dexterity. It's an exciting, fast-paced evening of entertainment with the drumming of the Argentine bombo, the whirling boleadora throwing weapons and passionate choreography courtesy of French director/choreographer Gilles Brinas.
Earth Day on the Avenida
5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, free
Discovery Green Flea presented by Green Mountain Energy®
6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, free
Our planet's so big, it took two events to celebrate Earth Day. The band kicks off at 5 p.m. when the Squonkers begin playing; their music fuels the 40-foot-tall Lady Pneumatica, with a little help from blowers and vortex fans. You've got to see it to believe it as this air-powered monolith raises her arms up to the sky. Then mosey on over to this special Earth Day presentation of Discovery Green Flea with oodles of artful kitsch, vintage items, upcycle finds and mid-century furniture. Light bites and live entertainment turn this celebration of the Big Blue Marble into a party.
Spring Biannual Pre-Party & Silent Auction
Spring Street Studios
3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, free
Spring Biannual Art Sale & Stroll
Sawyer Yards Creative Campus
5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, free
Don't dawdle because – with art spread out over Silver Street Studios, Spring Street Studios, Summer Street Studios, The Silos and Winter Street Studios – any delays mean you might miss out on some super-cool art during the Spring Biannual Art Sale & Stroll. Come early at 3 p.m. and view the one-of-a-kind birdhouse creations by local designer teams (they paired Houston celebrities and artists) that benefit the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center; rumor has it that Mayor Sylvester Turner teamed up with Nicola Parente.
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Shetland tea; Cold Earth and The Crow Trap: The First Vera Stanhope Mystery book signings
Murder By The Book
2 and 3 p.m. Sunday, free
Love is a journey, and perhaps more so for Ann Cleeves, a cook at a bird observatory in northern Scotland where she met her future husband, a visiting ornithologist. The newlyweds relocated to a tiny tidal island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary (he was appointed warden of Hilbre) and she began writing crime novels; later she set up reading groups in prisons. Now, to celebrate her popular Shetland mystery series, the staff at Murder By The Book is hosting a traditional Shetland tea at 2 p.m. They'll act out the script, and it's up to the audience to solve the whodunit while noshing on tea and scones. Stay after when Cleeves signs and discusses Cold Earth (hardcover) and The Crow Trap (paperback).
Career presentation by Adam Bray, co-author of Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
7 p.m. Monday, free
Would you go on to the next round in a Star Wars trivia contest? If you know who was Anakin Skywalker's Padawan, the name of Jabba's pet Kowakian monkey-lizard or what allowed Jango Fett to fly, then step to the front of the class. For the rest of you, become an expert on the Star Wars galaxy by reading this visual encyclopedia by Adam Bray, Cole Horton and Tricia Barr. Bray has turned his passion for sci-fi into a lifetime of books about Star Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Lego Star Wars and Marvel, and he'll be on hand this Monday to tell all.