21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Space Vixens and Video Game Music

Tuesday, July 11

If you can tell a story, The Moth wants you. Even after 20 years of prodding normal folks to rise up and share their tales, Houston producer Elizabeth Bailey never tires of the process. “Houston’s had Moth StorySLAM since September 2013, and for those who don’t know, it’s all about true stories, told live, without notes. It’s about homing in on the ancient craft of sharing your own experiences and connecting.” Under the hosting expertise of local comic Dusti Rhodes, the cast is decided that night, as names are literally picked out of a hat. “Ten lucky people are picked, and the best stories are considered for The Moth Radio Hour and podcast, which is on hundreds of stations across the country,” says Bailey. So far six Houstonians have made it to air — could you be lucky number seven? 7:30 to 10 p.m. July 11. Warehouse Live, 813 Saint Emanuel. For information, call 844-321-9797 or visit themoth.org. $10. — Vic Shuttee

We're big fans of TV's Bones, about the cucumber-cool forensic anthropologist played by Emily Deschanel. The brains behind character Temperance "Bones" Brennan, Ph.D., television producer and author Kathy Reichs, is mixing things up with a new standalone novel. This time main character Sunday Night draws from her dark past to help find justice for a missing girl. The multi-talented forensic anthropologist and author is in town for HMNS Distinguished Lecture Series: Conversation with Author Kathy Reichs and Book Signing of Two Nights, presented by HMNS and Murder By The Book. Admission gets you a just-released copy of the book and an inside look into the world of Dr. Reichs, who has consulted with medical examiners, trained FBI agents and assisted with the identification of victims in mass graves. 6:30 p.m. July 11. HMNS, 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit hmns.org. $40. — Susie Tommaney

Last summer's concert in London's Hyde Park was the stuff of music legend. When singer/songwriter Carole King took the stage in front of a sold-out stadium of more than 65,000 fans, reeling off hit after hit from Tapestry, it marked the first time the GRAMMY Award®-winning album had ever been performed in its entirety. And the cameras were rolling, capturing hits like "I Feel the Earth Move," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" and "You've Got a Friend." The consummate performer was joined by actress/vocalist Cassidy Janson and the London cast of Beautiful The Carole King Musical, and now Houston audiences can view this moment in time on the big screen courtesy of Fathom Events. As with all things Fathom, lagniappe extras for Carole King: Tapestry include an introduction from iconic DJ Scott Shannon and a special interview with King. 7 p.m. July 11. Cinemark Memorial City, 310 Memorial City Mall. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for list of participating venues. $13 to $15. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, July 12

On our list of must-see installations this summer is the site-specific “The Ephemeral Beauty in Nature” by Harumi Shimazu. What the Tokyo-based artist has done with floating glass balls, brass and wax fragments is sublime, transforming these fragile materials into a swaying dreamscape of light and reflection. There’s an opening reception this Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m., but our eyes are on the prize when Shimazu discusses her view of nature as a vast living organism during an artist talk this Wednesday. “[She] is interested in coming to the U.S. and having a dialogue about her work and really having that cross-cultural exchange,” says gallery owner Nicole Longnecker, adding that Shimazu also wants to hear about our interests and how we view her work. 6 to 8 p.m. July 12. Also 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. July 8 through August 19. Nicole Longnecker Gallery, 2625 Colquitt. For information, call 346-800-2780 or visit longneckergallery.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Giuseppe Verdi received the equivalent of a “thumbs down” when he premiered his second opera, King for a Day, in 1840. Depressed after the deaths of his wife and children, the Italian composer was ready to give up writing when he bumped into Bartolomeo Merelli. The La Scala impresario was flush with excitement about a new libretto and talked Verdi into taking a look; inspiration struck when he opened the pages to “Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate” (“Go, thoughts, on wings of gold”). The emotional chorus sung by Hebrew slaves has gone on to become a favorite of operagoers, and The Metropolitan Opera chorus gave it their all this season with Plácido Domingo as the title character. The cameras were rolling, and now we can see the glory on the big screen with The Met: Live in HD’s summer encore of Nabucco. 7 p.m. July 12. Cinemark Memorial City, 310 Memorial City Mall. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for list of participating venues. $10.50 to $12.50. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, July 13

Get ready for a mind-twisting space ride. The summer sizzler, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, comes to Space City courtesy of Obsidian Theater and Standing Room Only Productions. Saucy Jack is the name of a bar where murder is afoot, but the rest is an interactive rocket-fueled romp. Director Chris Patton fills in the gaps: “There are three vixens who hear about the murders happening, and once that happens, love starts to flourish in all sorts of forms and it ends up being a fairy tale.” Patton adds, “To say a lot more would give away surprises, and to say less would leave people confused.” Too late – we’re already confused, but it does pique our curiosity because this show sounds too spaced out to miss. 8 p.m. July 13. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and July 24; 11:59 p.m. July 22. July 13 through August 5. Obsidian Theater, 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-889-7837 or visit obsidiantheater.org. $30 to $37.50. — Sam Byrd

“If you’re a self-respecting brewery that serves food, you better have damn good french fries,” says Lennie Ambrose, marketing and events director for Saint Arnold Brewing Company, “[and] we unabashedly say we have the best fries in Houston.” But come taste for yourself this Thursday as the brewery celebrates National French Fry Day. The $25 ticket price includes beer, unending servings of Saint Arnold's Belgian-style frites and a gigantic buffet of house-made toppings, cheeses and flavored ketchups. You name it, they’ll have it: the garlic aioli they traditionally serve, chili, Santo queso, bacon, duck fat, pulled pork, remoulade, gravy and cheese curds (to make your own poutine), plus new menu addition Fire Emoji (fries made with the brewery's Fancy Lawnmower sriracha and blue cheese crumbles). “Or you can eat them plain,” says Ambrose. “That’s okay too.” 6 to 8 p.m. July 13. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons. For information, call 713-686-9494 or visit saintarnold.com. $25. — Natalie de la Garza

Over the years Houston has become home base for poets far and wide, showcasing their talent and supporting the world of spoken-word poetry. And while local poetry slams in which wordslingers go head-to-head onstage are nothing new, the battle royal, group-style slam format is taking place here for the first time. It requires verbal dexterity, timing and the bringing together of different poetry styles. The 1st Annual Bayou City Poetry Group Slam features 20 of the A-list poets who have touched national stages, and the team that wins gets a cash prize. “A group slam takes a lot of work, the writing and performance, because basically they are writing and performing the poems together,” explains organizer and slam show creator Savannah Blue. 7 to 10 p.m. July 13. Indigo at Midtown, 2117 Chenevert. For information, call 832-396-9547 or visit bayoucitypoetryslam.org. $5 to $10. — Camilo Hannibal Smith

Group Acorde, the newest kids on the Houston dance block, are inviting audience members to become part of the performance during their two-night run at Nicole Longnecker Gallery. “It won’t be sit-down, which is really interesting,” says Nicole Longnecker, gallery owner. “The audience becomes part of the show; it’s much more interactive. People will be incredibly close to the dancers.” Roberta Paixão Cortes (director, choreographer, dancer) will be joined by Thomas Helton (composer, bassist), Lindsey McGill (associate director, choreographer, dancer) and Seth Paynter (composer, musician) as they perform in front of the ethereal, nature-inspired installation by Japanese artist Harumi Shimazu. Pro tip: These events tend to sell out, so reserve your tickets now. 7 p.m. July 13 and July 14. 2625 Colquitt. For information, call 346-800-2780 or visit longneckergallery.com. $15. — Susie Tommaney

Long before social media documented our every memory, mood and activity — only to remind us of those moments on subsequent anniversary dates — we relied on diaries and correspondence to chronicle our lives. Now award-winning director Phil Grabsky has mined more than 2,500 letters written by impressionist Claude Monet, finding gems like "My head is bursting — I want to paint it all." Armchair Travel: Exhibition on Screen: I, Claude Monet juxtaposes these excerpts with the paintings Monet was working on at the time, giving us a look into the artist's feelings of depression, loneliness and suicide, as well as his abilities to find joy in humor, gardening and love. The documentary is narrated by Henry Goodman; modern audiences know him as Dr. List in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and TV's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2 p.m. July 13 and July 16. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. — Susie Tommaney

The Houston Symphony offers up an immersive experience with Video Games Live.
The Houston Symphony offers up an immersive experience with Video Games Live.
Photo courtesy of Houston Symphony

Friday, July 14

Gamers, stop trying to beat your previous high score, put down the controller and get over to the Houston Symphony for Video Games Live, presented as part of the Bank of America Summer Series. Show creator Tommy Tallarico hosts and plays guitar alongside conductor Emmanuel Fratianni and the Houston Symphony Chorus for this immersive experience. “As a composer, I wanted to prove to the world how culturally significant video games have become.” Tallarico says. “And my other goal was to usher in a new generation of young people to appreciate the arts and symphony.” My, how he was correct. You'll see great games like never before: from Final Fantasy to Zelda, Skyrim, Donkey Kong Country, Warcraft, Shadow of the Colossus, Pokémon, Mario and many more. 7:30 p.m. July 14. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $23 to $95. — Sam Byrd

One of Houston’s best pop culture conventions is celebrating ten years of fandom this year. Delta H Con is once again hosting a smorgasbord of anime and Japanese culture. “Delta H started out as a small, college-based convention with just a few hundred people,” says organizer Sarah Skrobaczyk. “We have worked with the community to build a convention that now has a few thousand people.” Gaming is a big part of the convention, with Delta H Con partnering with Warzone Houston and Houston Arcade Expo to bring the best tabletop and electronic gaming across generations of the medium. The guest list is better than ever, featuring Gaku Space (Genji from Overwatch), Monica Rial (Bulma from Dragon Ball Super) and Chuck Huber (various Dragon Ball characters). 9 a.m. to midnight July 14, midnight to midnight July 15, midnight until 6 p.m. July 16. Marriott Westchase, 2900 Briarpark. For information, visit deltahcon.com. $25 to $600. — Jef Rouner

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Houston Astros look to keep their momentum going against the Minnesota Twins, and Friday night’s contest offers fans two unique, specially ticketed experiences – Baseball on Tap (a pre-game beer-tasting, with the first 500 fans receiving an exclusive pint glass) and the ’StroZone, which seats you in the fan section with an orange T-shirt and a foam hand – before ending with post-game fireworks set to timeless Motown hits. If you haven’t been out to the Juice Box yet, now’s the time. “There’s something about the youth of this team, the energy of this team…[we're] seeing a lot of our young talent performing at a level that is unmatched,” says Brianna Carbonell, senior manager of promotions and events. “There’s something special happening here.” 7:10 p.m. July 14. Continuing 6:10 p.m. July 15, 1:10 p.m. July 16. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. For information, call 1-877-927-8767 or visit astros.com. $14 to $84. — Natalie de la Garza

The 1986 film Labyrinth marked the end of an era in fantasy/sci-fi films; it was the last big-name movie made before computer animation became the FX standard. An MTV-obsessed, teenage girl’s reverie, the film sported a dream team productionwise, with Monty Python’s Terry Jones as scriptwriter, George Lucas as producer and Jim Henson as director. A young Jennifer Connelly phones in a deliciously indifferent performance, which, ironically, perfectly captures ’80s teenage ennui. And of course, David Bowie’s turn as the Goblin King Jareth is the reason we watch — he lords over his puppet realm like a glam-rock Oberon. For all its campiness and blatant ripping off of classics like The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, the late Bowie lends the enterprise an endearing authenticity — like a thought bubble popping out from a teenage girl’s head that reads, “I wish goblins would abduct my little brother…and then I meet David Bowie…” 11:59 p.m. July 14 and July 15. Landmark River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-866-8881 or visit landmarktheatres.com. $8 to $11. — Troy Schulze

They couldn't have been more different, but summer romance bloomed anyway between greaser Danny Zuko and good girl Sandy Dumbrowski. Of course when the lovebirds return to Rydell High for their senior year, peer pressure takes over and we're treated to plenty of gum-chewing, hip-shaking hits. Now Playhouse 1960 is bringing Grease (books, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey) to the main stage, along with favorite characters Betty Rizzo, Frenchy, Kenickie and the oh-so-dreamy Teen Angel. Cash Shipman directs the Tony Award®-nominated musical for this Willowbrook-area venue, with Jordynn Godfrey taking on the role of sophisticated Pink Lady Marty Maraschino. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. July 14 through July 29. 6814 Gant Road. For information, call 281-587-8243 or visit ph1960.com. $15 to $18. — Susie Tommaney

Saturday, July 15

Katherine Parr was the only one of King Henry VIII’s six wives to stay with him till the end – his end, since she survived him. Canadian playwright Kate Henning has re-imagined that history (and made it a bit funnier), setting it in contemporary times in the regional premiere of The Last Wife at Main Street Theater. Rutherford “Ruddy” Cravens (you may have seen him recently playing a racist in Jordan Peele’s movie Get Out) plays Henry. “He’s a formerly vital, energetic man at the end of his days hanging on, says Cravens. "He’s losing confidence in his powers but determined to stay in charge, to stay on top.” As for whether he really loves his young wife, Cravens says: “I think as far as he is capable he really loves her but he’s a pretty damaged human being.” There’s intrigue aplenty as Kate Parr (played by Lisa Villegas) has endangered herself with secret meetings with Thom, Henry’s former brother-in-law. She battles Henry to make sure his daughters are educated and have rights – much as the original Katherine Parr did on behalf of the future Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I. 7:30 p.m. July 15. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. July 15 through August 13. Main Street Theater. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $36 to $43. — Margaret Downing

The Purple One may have permanently left the building, but his musical influence still holds as much impact and presence as when he was still with us. In honor of his legacy, the Houston Symphony is gifting us with a night of funk and soul during The Music of Prince. Hop in the “Little Red Corvette” and “Let’s Go Crazy” to all the best party jams. Conductor Brent Havens has teamed up with singer Marshall Charloff and the band Purple Xperience to bring a full musical kaleidoscope. Having performed this concert a few times in the past, Havens guarantees it will be a blast. “I gave the first downbeat from the podium, and the place exploded. People were right on their feet from the get-go. It's hard not to get on your feet.” 7:30 p.m. July 15. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $29 to $139. — Sam Byrd

Thinking about space has no limits, and that was likely on the minds of filmmakers who had a chance to submit to the CineSpace competition over the years. The seventh annual JULYDOSCOPE showcases a bunch of those entries as well as recent competition winners, screened under the stars at Discovery Green by presenter Houston Cinema Arts Society. Creators were allowed to make shorts built around 50 years of NASA archival footage, with more than a dozen flicks and multiple genres. But JULYDOSCOPE is more than just spaced-out movies. We’ll also hear poems from Poetry Buskers, live sax music from Musiqa, and even some star searching. “We’re all going to be in an outer-space mood; we’re going to have some people with telescopes there. Hopefully we’ll be able to see something,” says Patrick Kwiatkowski, the society’s executive director.
7 p.m. July 15. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-429-0420 or visit cinemartsociety.org. Free. — Camilo Hannibal Smith

The popular Round Top Music Festival comes to a close with a Saturday evening Texas Festival Orchestra concert led by Christian Arming, one of Austria's most sought after conductors. Pianist James Dick opens with Frédéric Chopin's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in e, Op. 11 (1830), with its melancholic second movement. Works by Maurice Ravel are featured post intermission with the choreographic poem for orchestra, La Valse, and the famous one-movement composition Boléro. Turn this into a day trip and catch the 2017 Percussion Section Showcase at 1:30 p.m. and the Closing Chamber Music Program at 3:30 p.m., and take some time to explore the gardens, trails and lakes of the gorgeous 200-acre Round Top Festival Institute. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. July 15. Festival Concert Hall, 248 Jaster Road, Round Top. For information, call 979-249-3129 or visit festivalhill.org. $10 to $70. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, July 16

Gabriel Allon is back, along with his faithful scribe, Daniel Silva, who's in town to promote his latest thriller, House of Spies: A Novel. Author Daniel Silva in Conversation… features a convo with Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider. “Everyone, both men and women, [is] in love with Gabriel Allon,” says Marilyn Hassid, director of arts and culture for presenter Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. “He’s this sensitive, amazing art restorer, and you root for him to win in the end, knowing he always will.” Of course, with spies more in the headlines than ever, Silva’s in-depth, novelistic approach is sure to lure in new readers. “Daniel’s writing is always steeped in this scary ability to see the future,” Hassid confides. “His past work as a foreign correspondent allows him to see what others may miss. For him, these projections are potential realities.” 5 p.m. July 16. 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-595-8162 or visit erjcchouston.org. $30. — Vic Shuttee

Monday, July 17

It’s hard to believe, but the Sugar Land Skeeters’ 2017 season is already more than halfway over. They’re taking on Atlantic League Freedom Division rivals the Lancaster Barnstormers in a six-game homestand. Grab a seat or, for less than a sawbuck, bring a blanket and chill on the outfield lawn. Monday’s game is Margarita Monday with dollar hot dogs. The hits just keep on coming all week long, with a postgame fireworks show July 14, a Craig Biggio Hall of Fame bobblehead giveaway July 15, a Swatson bobblebelly giveaway July 16, two-for-one tickets July 18 and Super Splash Day July 19. 7:05 p.m. July 17. Also 7:05 p.m. July 14 and July 18; 6:05 p.m. July 15-16; 11:05 a.m. July 19. Constellation Field, 1 Stadium Drive, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-240-4487 or visit sugarlandskeeters.com. $8 to $55. — Clint Hale

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