Now that Super Bowl LI has come and gone, the city can breathe a sigh of relief that the most anticipated event of the year has passed. Your calendar can use this as a football detox before drowning in the NBA season and the Rockets' 38-17 record. Set your eyes on the hypnotic performance at the Pilot on Navigation, where performers use flames as their tool of preference to dazzle and delight. And because Valentine's Day is right around the corner, turn on the charm and guide your date through an evening walk in a candlelit path through the Houston Arboretum. Keep reading to see what Houston has in store for you this weekend; you'll need something to do to enjoy this unseasonably enjoyable weather.
Maggie Lasher, the choreographer behind the fire arts-infused Lightbearer, assures us that the audience shouldn’t be scared. “We know what we’re doing,” says Lasher, who serves as artistic director for presenter Holding Space Dance Collective, adding that the group follows proper rules and regulations. While she has given us teasers before, this is the first time Lightbearer is being presented as a full-length dance narrative, and it’s making its world premiere in the East End, courtesy of The Pilot Artist Board. Lasher says that like all children, she was fascinated by campfires and fireplaces. “The fire arts itself kind of spoke to me in a different way. It’s rare to see it in performance like this,” says Lasher, noting that it’s big in the flow community. Coming from a strong background in ballet, she’s always loved telling stories through dance, movement and music, and Lightbearer’s narrative revolves around two friends as they journey through the fiery realm of the Shadow Queen to save the Light of the World. Whether the Light of the World is saved is for you to find out this Friday night.
8 p.m. February 10-11 and 16-18. The Pilot on Navigation, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 281-979-4982 or visit freneticore.net. $15 to $20.
Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, written by the composer to honor the memory of a friend, is performed all over the world. But it is only now making its debut at the Houston Grand Opera, courtesy of Super Bowl LI. HGO chorus master Richard Bado explained that, leading up to the big game, HGO’s performance home at the Wortham Theater Center was taken over by Super Bowl personnel. So the opera needed to plan for something that could rehearse anywhere and, voilà, the 93-minute, one-act oratorio fit the bill. Coincidentally, it was something that Bado, now in his 24th year as chorus master, has wanted to do for a long time. Four soloists and 120 choristers (HGO’s Aida had only 80) will run a roller coaster of emotions from loss and fear to hope and joy, with Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers conducting. “The emotional journey the audience will go through is huge,” Bado says. “It’s a theatrical, dramatic event. This will be one of the high points of my career here.” Requiem will be a show for your Saturday night that will be a healthy change from all the pigskin events that littered our calendars in these past few weeks.
7:30 p.m. February 10, 15, 17 and 18; 2 p.m. February 12. 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $15 to $240.
Get outside and bask in the beautiful weather — and Mother Nature — this Valentine’s Day weekend, because the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center has partnered with local restaurants for its annual Tapas on the Trails. Enjoy five stops along the gorgeous outdoor trail while sampling tasty morsels and romancing under the moonlight. The evening culminates with a visit to the meadow deck overlooking the center’s one-acre pond, where participants will indulge in sparkling wine, a handcrafted dessert, coffee and the company of a wise owl. Special Events Manager Katie Campbell says, “The evening setting is special because we’re usually not open during those hours. We have delicious foods and drinks and we give people a really great experience.” Space is limited to only 250 people per night, so act now if you want to attend this event on your Saturday night.
6 to 10 p.m. February 10, 5 to 9 p.m. February 11. 4501 Woodway. For information, call 713-681-8433 or visit houstonarboretum.org. $75 to $85.
Picture it: In Sri Lanka’s lush setting, boy meets girl. Then another boy meets same girl. Out of civility, both boys agree not to fight over the girl and everything ends in disaster. It’s just another opera plot, right? Wrong, Les Pêcheurs de Perles is one of the first operas budding composer Georges Bizet would create in 1863 before rising to critical acclaim. Opera in the Heights highlights maestro Bizet for one week with what many classical music lovers view as the seedling to his world-renowned Carmen. “The music is ravishingly beautiful,” says stage director John De Los Santos. “It’s got violence, sex and action, but it’s also about romance and exotic location.” This hot story will do its job by keeping you warm Saturday night when the weather decides to take its nightly cold temperature dip.
7:30 p.m. February 3, 9 and 11; 2 p.m. February 5. 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit operaintheheights.org. $15 to $75.
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The 10,000-pound behemoth known as Grave Digger — with its funereal black base, neon-green flames and Grim Reaper death stare — is back, and destruction is inevitable: Every year more than 3,000 cars, vans, buses, motor homes, ambulances and airplanes are crushed at Monster Jam® events. When we checked in with driver Carl Van Horn during his last stop in H-Town, he told us that a vehicle body can be destroyed in under two minutes but, not to worry, because the chassis will live to see another day. These shows aren’t for the faint of heart: The methanol-injected trucks are built for speed and can race up to 100 miles per hour and jump up to 35 feet in the air. The paint jobs are definitely rad but, with almost guaranteed destruction, we recommend checking out the trucks while they’re still shiny and new at Party in the Pits. Kids love getting autographs and posing for selfies against the 66-inch tires. So if the sports-induced adrenaline detox after Super Bowl LI was too much, then cure your withdrawals with this action-packed, trick-filled Sunday night show at NRG Stadium.
There’s a pit party from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. February 11 and 18; the show begins at 7 p.m. There’s another pit party from noon to 2 p.m. February 12; the show begins at 3:30 p.m. NRG Stadium, 1 NRG Park. For information, call 800-745-3000 or visit monsterjam.com. $15 to $115.
Sam Byrd, Margaret Downing and Susie Tommaney contributed to this post.