Band Leader Bear (detail) by Zhenya Rock from the "Gypsy Circus" exhibit at Russian Cultural Center Our Texas.
Band Leader Bear (detail) by Zhenya Rock from the "Gypsy Circus" exhibit at Russian Cultural Center Our Texas.
Photo courtesy of the artist and Russian Cultural Center Our Texas

Ten Things to Do in Houston for $10 or Less (Eight Free) December 15-21

Consider this the intermission week of December and take a mid-month break from the all-consuming holiday season. Albeit you love everything decadent, sugary and covered in snow, reboot for the final stretch of the holiday season before it really gets kicked into overdrive. Check out University of Houston's modest gallery for a free tour, enter your award-winning chili in a cookoff and keep our military families in mind this time of year. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more then $10 — and eight of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.

Docent-led 2 O'clock Tours
Blaffer Art Gallery
2 p.m. Friday, Free
Are you the Type A personality who typically does the leading, the talking and and any explaining needed? If that's a yes, then take a back seat and let the professional docents at the Blaffer Art Gallery do their job. The docents will guide you through the present works of artist Analia Saban and Blake Rayne while giving insight on each piece on display. Questions are encouraged, but pictures typically are not; enjoy this University of Houston gem because it's not one just for the students.

The palm trees add the perfect touch to the southern Christmas backdrop for cornhole in December.EXPAND
The palm trees add the perfect touch to the southern Christmas backdrop for cornhole in December.
Photo courtesy of MetroNational

Craft Beer and Cornhole Night
The Square at Memorial City
5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Free
Cornhole is the name of the game and there is no skill needed. After a few craft beers, the illusion of skill will have you browsing through Amazon for a cornhole set of your very own. No need to buy one yet, though; hone your skills this Friday at the free event hosted by The Square at Memorial City. And don't worry, should you throw your elbow out trying to go for gold, Memorial Hermann is just a cornhole toss away for you to stop in and get you iced.

Librotraficante, Tony Diaz, is doing his part to save the masses by bringing out his underground libraries for all to see.
Librotraficante, Tony Diaz, is doing his part to save the masses by bringing out his underground libraries for all to see.
Graphic courtesy of Tony Diaz

Aztec Poetry & Music Presentation
Talento Bilingüe de Houston
6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Free
The Tony Diaz slogan is that "Only art can save us," and he's doing his part with Nuestra Palabra to save lives in Houston by bringing his underground library out from hiding. This Friday Diaz will host Aztec Poetry & Music Presentation to illustrate the literary works of the Hispanic community. They will be showcasing the talent of Juan Tejeda and serving free tamales too!

Leave it to Little Woodrow's Midtown to keep a Texas chili cook-off fun and light!
Leave it to Little Woodrow's Midtown to keep a Texas chili cook-off fun and light!

Little Woodrow's Midtown Chili Cook-off
Little Woodrow's Midtown
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Free
Chili with beans? Chili without beans? Come see what Houston prefers at Little Woodrow's Midtown this Saturday. Enter your chili to win some stellar prizes and Houston bragging rights. Judging begins at 6 p.m. but the beer is flowing all day long. Don't forget your Tums, and may the odds be ever in your chili favor.

The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens makes for a scene to be seen.EXPAND
The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens makes for a scene to be seen.
Photo by Rick Gardner in memory of Mary Gardner

Photography in the Gardens of Bayou Bend
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
1:30 p.m. Saturday, $7.50
A picture is worth a thousand words, but an amateur self-taken photograph that you hang on your own gallery wall is priceless. Take the time this Saturday to de-stress from the holiday hoopla and observe a well-manicured photogenic landscape through your very own lens. Also take the time to set your camera to overcast and don't forget your umbrella because you don't want to miss out on the shot of a gentle raindrop resting on your favorite flower this Saturday.

Lead singer Rosie Chavira and her gang are performing as the group Mangled Digits this Saturday.EXPAND
Lead singer Rosie Chavira and her gang are performing as the group Mangled Digits this Saturday.
Photo by Miguel Martinez

No Soldier Left Behind
American Legion Post 654
2 p.m. Saturday, $10
Ever feel $10 doesn't cover much anymore? It can, though. This Saturday the band Mangled Digits is organizing an event that really packs a bang for your buck. The group has organized games, barbecue, their own performance and appearances by the Texans cheerleaders. All proceeds from No Soldier Left Behind go to the PTSD Foundation of America. Redirect the $10 you were going to spend on Chipotle for the second time this week and let it do its duty by going to our military members who need it more.

Wings Over Water in the Fountain of the Americas
Avenida Houston
5 p.m. Saturday, Free
Super Bowl LI is right around the corner, 51 days away, in fact. To begin the countdown, Avenida Houston is displaying its newest installation, Wings Over Water, open daily for the public to view until then. Wings Over Water will be a large-scale installation over the fountain that will serve as a meditative piece while contrasting with the urban jungle of downtown Houston. Avenida Houston is set to unveil itself as the new art and cultural hub of downtown Houston; lucky for you that unveiling is free too.

Pick up something for your inner child at the Misfit Toys Holiday Party.
Pick up something for your inner child at the Misfit Toys Holiday Party.
Image Courtesy of Paulina Gamino

Misfit Toys Holiday Party
Misfit Toys
7  to 11 p.m. Saturday, Free
All you want for Christmas is – not Mariah Carey singing – it's toys! Everyone has an inner child that needs to be remembered and fed. Misfit Toys is just the spot that has a new Starscream to replace the one you lost as a kid or that Darth Vader action figure you wanted for Christmas when instead you got a coloring book. Misfit Toys will have games, trivia and giveaways so that no one should leave empty-handed. Check it out, and don't forget Starscream's accessories too.

Band Leader Bear (detail) by Zhenya Rock from the "Gypsy Circus" exhibit at Russian Cultural Center Our Texas.
Band Leader Bear (detail) by Zhenya Rock from the "Gypsy Circus" exhibit at Russian Cultural Center Our Texas.
Photo courtesy of the artist and Russian Cultural Center Our Texas

Art Exhibit: Gypsy Circus
Russian Cultural Center "Our Texas"
7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, Free
Forget what you think you know about Russian art; there is plenty more to it than Russian stacking dolls, even though they make for cute stocking stuffers. "Gypsy Circus" is the whimsical display of Russian art that is more centered on true Russian staples. Keep the art dialogue going afterward with your friends by going just up the road to Marquis II. They've got a happy hour that'll let you indulge if you suddenly find yourself in the mood for a vodka on the rocks.

Houston Heights Neighborhood Nights
Begins at 4000 Essex Lane
4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Free
Every now and then, Houston, let's indulge in being a pedestrian and exploring a neighborhood or two by foot. This week on Wednesday you get to go for a stroll through the Heights and visit with local vendors while they put their goods up for purchase. Remember, cash works best, especially in the case of tipping your bartenders. Bartenders? Yes, because there will happy hour specials, including draft beer, cocktails and your favorite wine. After all, you get thirsty as a pedestrian and hydration is key.

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