The 5 Best Things to Do This Weekend in Houston: Celebrate 4th of July with Cannons, the Beatles and Cocaine and Ethel Merman

The 5 Best Things to Do This Weekend in Houston: Celebrate 4th of July with Cannons, the Beatles and Cocaine and Ethel Merman

In honor of the nation's freedom, the Houston Symphony presents "ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights: Star-Spangled Salute," a Friday night performance where children and families are welcome to come and hang out under the stars as conductor Michael Krajewski and the Houston Symphony put on a show. There'll be patriotic, heartfelt performances of everything American, and the end -- which will close with the 1812 Overture -- should be quite a note on which to celebrate. If you're so inclined, seats to the show will be available, but they're definitely not required. All you'll need is a blanket and perhaps a picnic basket, and the hill above Miller Outdoor Theatre should provide the rest.

Let freedom ring at 8:30 p.m. Friday. 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713‑224‑7575 or visit Free.

The exclusive Houston venue for the 50th anniversary of the film A Hard Day's Night, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has a three-day series of screenings planned, including one on Friday. The film has been restored, and is now enhanced with all the visuals and audio you could ask for. Giles Martin, son of the Beatles' longtime manager, had a hand in the new sound mix, which gives the movie even more of that '60s-era authenticity. From songs like "And I Love Her" to "Can't Buy Me Love," A Hard Day's Night is almost guaranteed to be a singalong of epic proportions, should you feel so inclined to pull out the big karaoke-style guns. But whether you're singing along or not, this multi-day event will have you feeling the way you did back when flower children, and the Beatles, reigned supreme.

Celebrate a different sort of British Invasion at 1 p.m. July 4, 7 p.m. July 5, 5 p.m. July 6, 1 p.m. July 10. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit $9.

The 5 Best Things to Do This Weekend in Houston: Celebrate 4th of July with Cannons, the Beatles and Cocaine and Ethel Merman

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Long gone are the days when video game music consisted of annoying beeps and boops. For more than a decade now, sweeping symphonic scores have been as important to the game experience as the complex visuals. It's become a -business as significant as the production of movie scores and draws big-name talent. Using themes from some of the most intense and popular video games ever to be released, the Houston Symphony will take audiences through American mythologist Joseph Campbell's "monomyth" in rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes, one of our choices for this Saturday. Campbell's theory is also known as "the hero's journey." He argued that classical myths follow the same patterns, even though they were created centuries apart. The steps of the hero's journey fall into categories of "Separation," "Initiation" and "Return." The Houston Symphony describes the progression as such: "Each stage in the monomyth is a chapter in our story, and each game/musical selection was chosen primarily for its suitability for the chapter that it is featured in." The musicians will perform selections from Portal®, Journey®, Final Fantasy®, The Elder Scrolls® and Halo®. Conductor Miriam Burns will guide the symphony through the epic musical tale. With stunning visuals and vocal accompaniment by the Houston Symphony Chorus, you can bet it's going to be an evening well spent. Best of all? You can bring your teenagers and get some serious parent cred.

The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit $29 to $99.

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