Fall officially starts this week, so here’s to soon not sweating through your clothes every time you leave the house – and there are plenty of budget-conscious reasons to leave the house this week. Looking for a bluesy night of music on Discovery Green? A little something spicy on your palate? How about a country tradition coming to Pearland? Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — and nine of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
Feverland book signing
7 p.m. Thursday, free
After his critically acclaimed book about his mother, Happy: A Memoir, author (and Texas Christian University professor) Alex Lemon has turned his attention to his own lifelong struggle with a variety of medical issues in Feverland: A Memoir in Shards. Kirkus says “Lemon’s kaleidoscopic, occasionally scattershot chapters offer a collage of dreams, hallucinations, childhood memories, anecdotes about his wife and young son, references to literature, art, and popular culture, and, of course, the state of his body and mind” while adding that “[a]lthough sometimes maddening to read, Lemon’s collision of ideas and images adds up to a celebration of a life unbowed by suffering.”
7 p.m. Thursday, free
Imagine an amateur women’s volleyball team on which the athletes not only range in age from 66 to 98 but haven’t actually played a match in 30 years. In director Gunhild Westhagen Magnor’s 2013 documentary The Optimists, screening as part of 14 Pews’ Norwegian Film Series, the women decide to take the plunge and go for it – setting up a match against a Swedish men’s team, that is. The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “charming,” saying, “[f]or all its spunk and humor, The Optimists is an illuminating look at the way the elderly live, at least in a Nordic social democracy with universal health care,” and that “the film finds droll comedy in the lead-up to the showdown.”
Peterson Brothers and Charley Crockett
7 p.m. Thursday, free
Listen as the Green turns blue Thursday night when Green Mountain Energy presents a Thursday night concert with a bluesy double bill of the Peterson Brothers and Charley Crockett. The Peterson Brothers – Glenn Jr. on guitar and lead vocals and his brother Alex on bass – released their first album in 2005 while still teenagers and have since become quite the staple on the Texas blues scene, opening for artists like B.B. King, Willie Nelson and Los Lonely Boys. The Dallas-based bluesman Charley Crockett also released his first album in ’05 and recently recorded and dropped an album of his favorite honky-tonk songs earlier this month.
“Backdrop & Blocker” and “Touch box” opening reception
Lawndale Art Center
6 p.m. Friday, free
In his solo exhibit, "Backdrop & Blocker," Austin-based sculptor Sterling Allen presents a site-specific installation that evokes architectural relationships and spatial connections, and celebrates elements of pop, function and failure, while Houston-based visual artist and musician (and teacher at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Houston Community College) Katherine Trimble explores the boundaries between sound and music, and language and sound, in her installation, "Touch Box." The opening reception for the two exhibits kicks off Lawndale’s fall season, with artist talks beginning at 6 p.m. Both exhibitions will remain on view through October 22.
8 p.m. Friday, free
Based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s 2016 book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, Theodore Melfi’s 2016 film dramatizes the experiences of three mathematicians – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – who worked at NASA during the space race while contending with racism both in society and at work. The film, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, a Best Supporting Actress nod for Spencer and another nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
To the Beat of a Different Drummer
Miller Outdoor Theatre
8 p.m. Friday, free
ROCO (River Oaks Chamber Orchestra) opens its 13th season with several world premieres; one from composer Paul Lansky for ROCO principal percussionist Matthew McClung, and the second, a fanfare commissioned as a response to the city’s resiliency post-Harvey, from Anthony DiLorenzo. DiLorenzo’s work, “Anthem of Hope: Houston Strong,” will premiere at Friday evening’s show, but will be performed by more than 20 other arts organizations throughout the 2017-18 season, including Stages Repertory Theatre, Opera in the Heights and METdance. This program, which includes Kurt Weill’s Symphony No. 2, Paul Hindemith’s Cupid and Psyche and Igor Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, will also be presented Saturday, September 23, at The Church of St. John the Divine, with adult tickets priced at $35.
Texas Hot Sauce Festival
Bayou City Event Center
11 a.m. Saturday, $10
Put your taste buds to the test at this two-day festival, now in its 16th year and rebranded from its previous moniker, the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. Hundreds of varieties of hot sauce, jams, jellies, marinades and rubs from around the world will be available – including the hottest pepper in the world, the Carolina Reaper. Georgetown's own Mikey V’s will even be sponsoring a Carolina Reaper pickle-eating competition. There will also be live music from The Zydeco Dots and Great Scott & the Almighty’s, a children's area, plenty of food and shopping opportunities. The festival benefits the Snowdrop Foundation, an organization that assists patients and families at Texas Children’s Cancer Center by funding cancer research and scholarships for pediatric cancer patients and survivors.
Pearland Opry on the Square
Pearland Town Center
7 p.m. Saturday, free
Put on your dancing shoes and come on out to the Pearland Town Center for the debut of Pearland Opry on the Square, a two-hour celebration of the multi-performer, Saturday night Texas opry tradition. Multiple country-and-western artists, specializing in traditional to contemporary country music, are scheduled to perform, including Richmond’s Mary Sarah, who you may remember competed on season ten of NBC’s The Voice; Brian Black, brother of Clint and who himself has toured with country legends for decades; Moses Rangel, whom you may recognize from his time on Nashville Star; Freddie Pate, formerly of Wayne Toups, and more.
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Across the Universe
9 p.m. Monday, free
Julie Taymor's ambitious rock musical Across the Universe certainly turned heads on its release ten years ago, a traditional ’60s-set tale told in an anything but traditional way – and set to the music of the Beatles. Roger Ebert noted it is one of those movies you walk into “humming the songs,” but added, “[h]ere is a bold, beautiful, visually enchanting musical where we walk into the theater humming the songs. Julie Taymor's Across the Universe is an audacious marriage of cutting-edge visual techniques, heart-warming performances, 1960s history and the Beatles songbook.”
The Address book signing
Murder by the Book
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, free
Fiona Davis weaves together two distinct historical periods in her newest novel, The Address, set in a storied Manhattan hotel called the Dakota. There, in 1884, a young woman named Sara Smythe accepts a job and eventually develops a relationship with the building’s married architect, Theodore Camden. One hundred years later, in 1985, Bailey Camden finds herself fresh out of rehab and at the Dakota, where she too takes a job. Soon she begins to unravel the mystery of what happened there, when all she knows is that Sara was sent to an insane asylum and eventually accused of murdering Theo. As she unravels the mystery, the lives of the two women come crashing together.