Driving through the Heights or downtown Houston, as you pass the townhomes, condos and apartments, you might notice a bright open window or maybe the silhouette of a cat on a ledge and wonder, "What does the inside of that building look like?" Or perhaps: "What color walls are in there" or "How big is the bathroom?' Wonder no more as the opportunity to answer those burning questions is here at the Spring 2017 Architectural Tour this weekend.
Or head to the Wortham Theater Center for a very unconventional ballet, more Three Stooges and less Misty Copeland.
Hairy chests, drag-queen makeup and gauzy but gaudy tutus: It is ballet, but there’s nothing typical about Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all-male troupe as adept at en pointe as they are at spoofing the classics. “There are a few members of the audience that don’t know what they’re going to come and see, so they don’t usually know how to react,” says company member Alberto Pretto, who says children laugh at the outrageous choreography first, letting adults know it’s safe to join in. The troupe’s parody of “The Dying Swan,” with feathers falling out of the tutus in fits and spurts, offers the ultimate in comedic death scenes. “[It’s] an audience favorite,” says Pretto. “It’s really enjoyable to perform because we have the support of the audience laughing for us and cheering for us.” This light, funny evening this Friday serves as a good initiation to ballet and is presented in Houston courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts.
8 p.m. Friday. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $43 to $83.
For Grown-up Storytime #100, BooTown co-artistic directors Lindsay Burleson and Emily Hynds have chosen the best of the best to be reprised, and over the past ten years and some 780 stories, they’ve definitely heard some good ones: Werewolf, Philip Hays’s account of being a kid necromancer in Sugar Land; the anonymously submitted Rules of the Clinic, about a woman seeking an abortion; and Brendan Bourque-Sheil’s “happy-sad” tale Twinkies, about his curious reaction to the Hostess treat in a post-Harvey Milk world. “Everyone’s favorite writers will be represented at #100,” promises Hynds. “They span the past ten years so there’s definitely going to be ones that you haven’t heard in potentially eight years — or never heard.” So give your ebooks a break, take out your earbuds and get real-life readings this Saturday night that will do more for your imagination than the former.
Drunk Robot returns to emcee, and kicking off the centennial edition at 6 p.m. is a panel featuring original members and folks from the L.A. and Boston GUSTs. 7 p.m. Saturday. The Secret Group, 2101 Polk. For information, call 832-898-4688 or visit bootown.org. $20 to $40.
It’s been said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Pennie Mahon and her troupe of performing hounds prove otherwise. Houston Disc Dogs return to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with their gravity-defying canine tricks of all types. “There will be all kinds of dogs doing anything from long distance and Frisbee to freestyle flying discs, where dogs jump off our bodies. They do handstands, jump ropes and high jumps,” says Mahon, head trainer of the organization. The show lasts approximately 25 minutes, followed by a meet-and-greet where families can get up close and personal with the animals. The Houston-based group rescues animals ranging in age from one to ten, and we hear one of them is talented enough to hula hoop. Now that’s worth watching. Catch the the hula-hooping canine this Saturday and Sunday to see it for yourself.
7:30 p.m. Saturday and continues 5 p.m. March 26. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1080 or visit rodeohouston.com. Free to $10.
Memorial Day flooding. Tax Day flooding. The question isn’t whether we’ll have another deluge, it’s when. Enough is enough, and it’s time to fight back. The newest trend in residential and business construction is to assume that flooding will occur and find a way to survive these events. Resilience is the new buzzword, and architects are getting creative in dealing with the challenges of living in a floodplain. This year’s Rice Design Alliance Architectural Tour: H2Ouston showcases six examples of smart architecture, including vents that allow water to flow back out, sturdy finishes and elevated construction. The original Sunset Coffee building at Allen’s Landing, completely gutted and stripped down to its concrete structure before restoration, serves as Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s new digs. “The first floor serves as canoe storage. It’s flood-proof,” says Angie Chen, RDA’s assistant director of programs. A flood-proof home in Houston is one to be seen when the opportunity presents itself, and it has. Get a glimpse this Sunday afternoon to see what the future of flood-proof homes in Houston will look like.
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Soloist Chun Wai Chan, trained as a classical dancer in China, has learned a lot of things since joining the Houston Ballet: new techniques, how to manage his lifts better, contemporary dance. And how to dance with a stone, as he does as part of the ballet’s Director’s Choice: Legends and Prodigy mixed-repertory program. He is one of the many dancers performing in Grosse Fuge by Hans van Manen, Stepping Stones by Jirí Kylián (a Houston Ballet premiere), and the fun Year of the Rabbit by Justin Peck (another Houston Ballet premiere). In Grosse Fuge, where he partners with first soloist Katharine Precourt, he says, “It’s very fast. It has a very fast tempo.” Stepping Stones takes a lot of stamina and has challenging steps, he says. “In this piece I have to move from my toes to the edge of my head, and every part has to be very accurate.” Wai Chan's accuracy is set for performance this Sunday afternoon as he takes the stage at the Wortham Theater Center.
2 p.m. Sunday. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $25 to $195.
Sam Byrd, Natalie de la Garza, Margaret Downing and Susie Tommaney contributed to this post.