Burlesque clown princess and producer KiKi Maroon describes the KiKi Maroon's BurlyQ Lounge show, seen on Friday at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, as classy and sexy, dirty and funny." Okay, we're in.
Maroon found burlesque shows a rarity when she started performing here two years ago. "At the time there was no burlesque scene or regular shows in Houston. I was turned down by pretty much every local venue saying there was no draw. Determined to bring sexiness back to H-town, I built my own temporary stage in the back patio at Boheme out of plywood and cinder blocks. Apparently Houston was ready for our antics because almost 300 people came to that first show," she recounts laughing.
In addition to Maroon's gyrations, the evening also features Houston showgirls Dem Damn Dames, as well as Austin's Jigglewatts Burlesque Revue girls, Goldie Candela and Ruby Joule, who was recently inducted into Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. "And, in true BurlyQ style, the evening will be as funny as it is sexy, featuring the comic stylings of the 2012 Houston's Funniest Person winner Matthew Broussard," teases Maroon.
7 and 9:30 p.m. 2425 Norfolk. For information, call 713-528-5999 or visit sordidsideshow.com. $20 to $22.
Houston's quickly becoming a capital of geek culture in America, as evidenced by Comicpalooza 2013, the ever growing convention. The show, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday, attracts vendors and stars from across the globe to H-Town for a feast of cutting edge geekdom. Star Trek/X-Men star Patrick Stewart is in town, as is bad girl Michelle Rodriguez, wrestler Scott Steiner, Cary Elwes, and one of the largest collections of sci-fi and fantasy authors ever assembled for a convention. Convention founder John Simons has promised more than 300 hours worth of programming, everything from fan forums to workshops on medieval weaponry, Dr. Horrible sing-alongs to zombie survival techniques. There's even an exceedingly promising discussion on novelizing movies with Alan Dean Foster, Kevin J. Anderson.
Doctor Who fans make out especially great this year as the 50th anniversary of the story looms in November. The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) and the longest-running companion Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines), as well as Gary Russell who has written loads about the show and knows more Doctor trivia than perhaps anyone else on the planet will all offer insights and take questions.
Noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Sunday. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. For information, visit comicpalooza.com. $10 to $175.
Station Theater, Houston's home for improvisational arts, plays host to an ambitiously tight three-day schedule (which on surface seem to go against the very nature of improv itself) with The TRILL Comedy Festival, a collection of sketches, structures and riffs and one of our picks for Saturday. "The TRILL Comedy Festival will have every kind of bizarre and avant-garde comedy," promises producer Shyla Ray, who teaches comedy at Station and Rice University. After producing laff fests in multiple big city markets, Ray sensed that Houston was fertile ground for a similar endeavor.
Glaundor ("the best damn college improv group in the nation"), Waterpark: Austin's Hottest & Coolest Unscripted Musical, Stupid Time Machine, Texas comedy royalty Andy Huggins, and internationally renowned Parallelogramophonograph are among the must-see acts of the weekend.
"My favorite thing about Houston comedy is how many people are teachers, nurses, NASA scientists, engineers and designers during the day but at night they break loose and become wild comedians!" she says. "Houston comedians are all Batman."
6 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 1230 Houston Ave. For information, call 903-271-3203 or visit stationtheatre.com. $6 to $10.
The band Pink Martini, in town Friday, Saturday and Sunday, has a reputation for being wild, jazzy and hip. When it takes the stage with the Houston Symphony, the group will be joined by The Von Trapps. It seems The Von Trapps, made up of the great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria von Trapp (yes, from The Sound of Music) would have a decidedly different reputation.
Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini founder, says the two groups aren't as dissimilar as it might seem. "The actual story of the [original] Von Trapps is not really G-rated," he tells us. "It's about standing up to [the Nazis]."
The current Von Trapps include three sisters and a brother between the ages of 18 and 24. They've been singing together for more than 10 years, often in quaint Sound of Music-worthy folk costumes. "They were raised in Montana," says Lauderdale. "They were home schooled and they never watched television growing up. So, yes, spending time with them is like walking on to the set of The Sound of Music. They're very young, but also very wise. And they have an incredible talent," says Lauderdale. "The Von Trapp story is really about being hopeful. Right now, [the future] is looking pretty bleak. Seeing [The Von Trapps], it's a chance to be innocent again, to be hopeful." And Pink Martini shows have always been hopeful, he says.
The Houston Symphony performs the first half of the concert alone; Pink Martini joins the orchestra for the second half with a program that includes "The Lady is a Tramp" and "Malagueña." The Von Trapps perform several songs, including Die dorfmusik and an a cappella version In stiller Nacht which was sung by the original family group on its farewell tour in 1956. If there's time, they might treat fans to a rendition of "Edelweiss."
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $123.
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Our pick for Sunday is comedian Bill Bellamy, in town for a three-day stand-up stint at the Houston Improv, has some nice credits on his resume, but none of his movies, television appearances or live concerts approach his career pinnacle: the permanent elevation of that most essential of terms, "booty call" to its rightful, hallowed place in the human lexicon. Thank you, Bill.
Most fans first saw Bellamy as the whack but lovable host of MTV's Beach House and MTV Jams, but he was scratching for stardom way before that. While studying at Rutgers University, Bellamy entered a male beauty pageant, winning after wowing the judges with his stand-up stylings. Most recently he's been seen in supporting film roles in several black comedies (the other kind) and record-setting cable television specials.
8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. 7620 Katy information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $25 to $35.
Nancy Ford and Jef with One F contributed to this post.