21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Shark Week and Pampered Pooches

Tuesday, July 18

Whether it’s the thrill of the fight or the gore of the bite, we just can’t keep our attention off Shark Week. And no, we’re not talking about the sharks from West Side Story. We’re talking about the lean, mean killing machine that stalks prey in the oceans. And this year, they’ve made the leap from television to the silver screen with Discovery’s Shark Week at the Movies. This one-night premiere toasts the most famous week of television, which is geared toward dispelling misunderstandings about these often-feared creatures. It also gives viewers a way to experience Shark Week in a whole new way, with a “best of” collection from Shark Week 2016 and a special episode of Shark Week 2017. 7:30 p.m. July 18. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for list of participating venues. $16.24. — Sam Byrd

Wednesday, July 19

It all sounds so very Parisian: an al fresco painting party with friends, wine and light bites from Phoenicia. But here’s the kicker that brings it all home: Pinot’s Palette at Trumpet Flower takes place under the shade of the massive sculpture designed by Patrick Renner and produced by art collective Flying Carpet. “We set up tables and chairs underneath the Trumpet Flower. It’s an intimate happy-hour setting,” says Adrienne Joseph, programming manager for the Houston Downtown Management District. Joseph says the district has become so walkable now, it’s even attracting aspiring artists from neighboring Commerce Towers and Kirby Lofts. Plus, Phoenicia’s MKT BAR – also within walking distance – hosts its Vinyl & Vino event every Wednesday, which just keeps the party going. 6 to 8 p.m. July 19, August 16 and September 20. Main Street Square, 1021 Main. For information, visit artblockshouston.org. $22. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, July 20

So how exactly does one prepare for a public convo with New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly? Crime novelist Theresa Schwegel has been boning up watching Bosch and reading the just-released The Late Show, but she’s not nervous. “The first time I met him was the night that I won the Edgar for first novel. I was terrified. He came over to me and he was very gracious,” says Schwegel. “I’m excited to talk to him about his new book. He’s got a female protagonist and I’ve been told he based this on somebody he met — a female detective in Hollywood.” The former newspaper reporter splits his time between California and Florida, but will be in town for Michael Connelly in Conversation With Theresa Schwegel at Murder By The Book. 6:30 p.m. July 20. 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

It’s the curse of all rock stars — their music will live on long after they’ve left this mortal coil. Lucky for those of us who still mourn our gone-too-soon idols, at least we have a music-filled romp with Rec Room Arts’ Dead Rockstar Sing-A-Long Club, this time honoring the music of George Michael and Sharon Jones. “We’ve billed it as part theater, part concert. It’s a musical eulogy honoring the work of those musicians,” says artistic director Matt Hune. Actors/singers Wesley Whitson, Orlanders Jones and Mahoganee Renee will portray the lead characters, along with a full band, choreography, lighting and costumes. Even though this is a sing-along — yes, there will be music books — don’t expect a curated karaoke night. 8 p.m. July 20. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. July 20 through August 12. 100 Jackson Street. For information, call 713-999-9196 or visit recroomarts.org. Free to $20. — Sam Byrd

Tony Kushner’s multi-award-winning two-part play, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, is as powerful today as when it premiered in 1991. London's National Theatre first performed the production in 1992 and just recently restaged the play with Tony Award-winning director Marianne Elliott at the helm. In this production, Nathan Lane portrays the horribly misguided Roy Cohn and Andrew Garfield has the part of Prior Walter, who transforms from being the elegant man-about-town to a patient suffering from the ravages of AIDS. The cameras were rolling, and we can see this two-parter on the big screen when Fathom Events presents Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches and, a week later, Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika. 7 p.m. July 20 and July 27. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location, visit fathomevents.com for list of participating venues. $25.98. — Susie Tommaney

This weekend marks the last gig in the States for high-energy comic Chris DiStefano; after this he's hopping the transatlantic to do a four-nighter at the Vodaphone Comedy Festival in Dublin, Ireland. We've seen him on MTV2's GuyCode; on MTV's GirlCode, Failosiphy and Money From Strangers; and IFC's hockey-centric Benders. The actor/writer/producer is in pre-production for a TV movie starring Annie Potts and Chazz Palminteri but, until that begins shooting, this is our chance to see his stand-up at Houston Improv. He's on the fast track for sure; it's hard to imagine that it was only five years ago when DiStefano was selected to be one of Comedy Central's "Comics to Watch" at the 2012 New York Comedy Festival. 8 p.m. July 20, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. July 21, 7 and 9:30 p.m. July 22. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $20 to $30. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, July 21

For two decades now, Theatre Southwest has been bringing new voices to the stages of the Marie Pearsall Theatre. The five exciting new one-acts on tap at this year’s 20th Festival of Originals should be the finest yet, promises producer Mimi Holloway. “We have comedy, we have drama, we have mystery!” she says, laughing. Thomas Misuraca’s Joey and Chuck, directed by longtime collaborator Jay Menchaca, turns that classic “gay man coming out to his parents” formula on its head, Holloway vows. “They say they’re such progressive parents? The [boyfriend is] three years older than the father!” Other originals include marriage drama The Next Move by New York writer William Ivor Fowkes, the “twist-turn-what’s-happening-now? mystery” Card Game by George Rapier, comedy-mystery Elimination Game by Houston writer Carl Williams and jailbird-redemption love story Blur in the Rear View by Aleks Merlio. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. July 30. July 21 through August 5. 8944 Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit theatresouthwest.org. $16 to $18. — Vic Shuttee

Houston playwright Vincent Victoria knows comedy, and already has garnered successes with his irreverent take on Broadway's Auntie Mame (Auntie Shameka's Sixth Husband, Auntie Shameka Woman of the Ghetto). For this latest production, main character Shameka "Shame" Kennedy is a flamboyant hairdresser in Third Ward whose life is turned upside down when her hot-but-naive nephew comes for a stay. Auntie Shameka: A Fabulously Funny Comedy is an urban retelling of the classic play that mixes in gangsta culture with a nice lesson on the power of love. Stay after for a talk-back on July 23 with the cast, playwright and director. Note: Don't put the wrong venue into your GPS, folks; this one's at Midtown Art Center, across the street from Houston Community College. 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. July 21 through July 30. 3414 LaBranch. For information, call 281-832-6380 or visit banksbrothersproductions.com. $15 to $20. — Susie Tommaney

Carrie: The Musical has been plagued with its share of bad luck, much like the character written by Stephen King. The fake blood caused mike problems in a late-'80s production by the Royal Shakespeare Company; when it was transferred to Broadway, the play closed after just 16 previews and five performances, making it one of the most expensive disasters in theater history. But the backers may have got this one wrong: The production was sold out, night after night, which tells us that Michael Gore (music), Dean Pitchford (lyrics) and Lawrence D. Cohen (book) may have been on to something. It's time for Houston audiences to see for themselves when Broadway Performing Arts Studio presents this supernatural thriller, directed by Benjamin K. Luss, at The MATCH. 7:30 p.m. July 21, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. July 22. 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or 917-603-5959 or visit matchouston.org or broadwaypas.org. $15 to $20. — Susie Tommaney

Villains and melodramas are old hat, but this popcorn-throwing summer production at Theatre Suburbia happens to be a world premiere by local playwright Kris Thompson. A young woman escapes her fiancé and guardians, runs away to join the circus and finds true love. Actor Adrian Collinson tells us this is his fourth turn as the villain in a melodrama (audience members “express their disdain” by throwing popcorn and offering up boos and hisses), and his character finds himself in hot pursuit of the runaway heiress. Collinson also says the interactive sing-along is always popular. “They’re usually old standards like ‘Oh My Darling, Clementine’ and that sort of song that everyone has known since they were a kid.” Elvin Moriarty and Judy Reeves direct The Man in the Locket: Truths and Lies at the Bergstrom Circus & Menagerie, this year’s winner of the Summer Mellerdrammer playwriting contest. 8:30 p.m Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. July 30 and August 6, 13 and 20. July 21 through August 26. 4106 Way Out West. For information, call 713-682-3525 or visit theatresuburbia.org. $13 to $16. — Susie Tommaney

Come see the show dogs, stock up on accessories and maybe adopt a new bestie during this week's Houston World Series of Dog Shows, July 19-23.
Come see the show dogs, stock up on accessories and maybe adopt a new bestie during this week's Houston World Series of Dog Shows, July 19-23.
Photo by Jack Gorman

Friday, July 21

Nothing quite brings out the best in the world like a dog show. These celebrations of man’s best friend are a perfect opportunity to wallow in the sheer glory that is wet nose and undying loyalty. Feeling blue? Take a tour of the Houston World Series of Dog Shows. Everything canine is on display. There are boutiques of puppy paraphernalia, agility course demonstrations, multiple breed-specific cuddle opportunities and, of course, a parade of the finest breeding to be seen among humanity’s four-legged companions. Dogs are welcome if they are older than six months, have all appropriate vaccinations and are not on flexible leashes. The early bird gets the worm, plus free admission this Wednesday only. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 20 through July 23. NRG Center, 8400 Kirby. For information, call 281-536-0528 or visit houstondogshows.com. Bring $12 cash for parking. Free to $20. — Jef Rouner

An ordinary man gets caught up in intrigue and a manhunt that takes him all over the place after a woman is mysteriously murdered. Sounds like the plot of a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, which this is — sort of. Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps is back at the Alley Theatre, complete with the same two lead actors, Todd Waite and Elizabeth Bunch, and the same director, Mark Shanahan, who put together the Alley’s 2010 production. Native Houstonian Mark Price (Broadway: Mary Poppins) returns to Houston to take on a variety of roles (Mr. Memory, a clown and more) in the four-actor, fast-paced comedy-thriller featuring more than 150 total roles. “It’s very rapid-fire. We play any number of roles,” he says. “It’s a play for actors who love doing theater.” 8 p.m. July 21. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. July 21 through August 20. 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $26 to $81. — Margaret Downing

Forget Celestine Warbeck and the Banshees — get the real music of the Harry Potter universe as the Houston Symphony unleashes Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert. “I’ve always had a very clear passion for film music, which really sits in the upper chambers of the greatest music written in our craft,” admits Justin Freer, the event’s producer. “We’ve been gifted so many amazing scores in the last 90-ish years, and certainly John Williams is amongst the very best of [the] many composers who’ve given us their good compositional graces over the decades. Of all the scores he’s composed, I think [this film] is one of his most cherished. What a beautiful theme he wrote for Hedwig, which has become known the world over.” Potterheads will also have a chance to watch the original 2001 classic on the big screen as the score fills Jones Hall. 7:30 p.m. July 21, 2 and 7:30 p.m. July 22. 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $23 to $139. — Vic Shuttee

Last month the talented songbirds over at EaDo Playhouse delivered the best from Sir Elton John's songbook. Now they're back with the next offering in their 2017 Summer Concert Series: Razzle Dazzle: A Tribute to the Genius of Bob Fosse. Odds are that Luke Hamilton, Colton Berry and company are going to cherry-pick the best of the best from Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Pippin, Chicago and All That Jazz. This two-night-only, glitter-topped extravaganza is also a great chance to whet our appetites for EaDo's upcoming (and revamped) production of Sweet Charity in August. 8 p.m. July 21 and July 22. 2619 McKinney. For information, call 832-210-5200 or visit eadoplayhouse.com. $20. — Susie Tommaney

Saturday, July 22

Situation Mixtape is the final installment of DiverseWorks’s into the midst of things exhibit at The MATCH. It’s a collaborative performance that melds a body of work from Houston-based artist Regina Agu, along with ruby onyinechi amanze and Wura-Natasha Ogunji. It’s an immersive experience of collage, photography and video in a space that will challenge perspectives. Part of the exhibit takes a deep look at issues of displacement in Houston’s older neighborhoods, and how those communities within them resist and flourish. It’s a mind-boggling dive into how change affects everyone. “By investigating all of these different layers to Houston’s diverse cultures, I hope to examine the economic and social factors that contribute to Houston’s unique cultural landscape,” says Agu, who lives and works in the historic Third Ward. 6 p.m. July 22. 3400 Main, Suite 292. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org. Free. — Camilo Hannibal Smith

Haul out the holly and get ready for Christmas in July, because the Hot Mistletoe Pub Run has arrived. We believe this pub run is sponsored by the number five, because it’s a 5K covering five beers over the course of five bars. In keeping with the theme, organizers have also planned a hide-and-seek adventure, hiding Christmas ornaments at each bar for people to seek out during the jog. And it just wouldn’t be a fun run without a costume. Event director Hung Cao says, “We’ve seen all things, including ugly sweaters. It’s really cool because most [of] the runners keep the costumes on for the duration of the event in 100-degree weather.” And hey, you may even get a sweaty smooch from the person next to you. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 22. Starts at Fuego's Saloon, 817 Durham. For information, visit washingtonavepubruns.com. $45 to $50. — Sam Byrd

Sunday, July 23

With the Good Book serving as the plot, there are no spoiler alerts about the fate of Jesus in A.D. Players’ Godspell. Instead, the twist comes in the setting of the story. Director Justin Doran explains, “Our disciples and Jesus are all inmates. It’s a modern-day interpretation. The script isn’t any different, but we’re using a different setting than you might be accustomed to; however, the innards of it are very similar to a production you’ve seen or heard about previously.” Enjoy the contemporary take on the classic as well as Stephen Schwartz’s music, with songs ranging from pop to folk-rock, gospel and vaudeville. Fun fact: Most of the non-Schwartz lyrics came from the Episcopal hymnal. 2 p.m. July 23. Also 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. July 21 through August 13. 5420 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-2721 or visit adplayers.org. $15 to $68. — Sam Byrd

If you want to get chicks, go row a boat. Or at least so goes the plot in The Gondoliers, the last great success by composer Arthur Sullivan and librettist W.S. Gilbert. The handsome and charming sons of a gondolier have carried on with the family business and selected brides from the town groupies, though royal complications soon arise. The Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston has performed this comic opera every July since 1952; stage director Alistair Donkin, who plays The Duke, credits the music. “The tunes are always hummable. It’s a nice knockabout comedy. You come out whistling.” Donkin notes that G&S songs have been featured in TV’s Batman, The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. “If it’s good enough for Sheldon Cooper, it’s good enough for us.” 2:30 p.m. July 23. Also 8 p.m. July 21, 2:30 and 8 p.m. July 22. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 281-724-8363 or visit gilbertandsullivan.org. $28 to $53. — Susie Tommaney

Colombians have been relocating to the Houston area for decades now, bringing the South American country’s flavors to the Bayou City in the form of delicious empanadas and the almost too-perfect salsa moves of bandeja paisa. For 14 years Houston’s Colombian community has celebrated Colombian Independence Day with Colombian Fest International, an all-day event packed with food, arts, crafts, kid-friendly activities and plenty of music on the main stage. “It’s an afternoon where people can celebrate their ties to Colombia, through the food, the music and the drinks,” says Ana Solorzano, who helps organize the festival. The sounds of salsa, merengue, reggaeton and vallenato will be well-represented in performances by Jorge Celedon, Guayacan, Charlie Aponte, Guarare Orquesta, Los Gemelos de la Salsa and Paula Zuleta. 11 a.m. July 23. 100 Bagby. For information, call 832-512-6303 or visit colombianfest.com. $25. — Camilo Hannibal Smith

Sing along, now. These are a few of our favorite things: wine, cars, live music and food trucks. We're getting a heaping helping of all four when Haak Vineyards & Winery hosts its first ever Summer Mega Food Truck Festival. This gorgeous Santa Fe winery has lined up The Slags to play hits from all our favorite eras while we fill up on grub from Foreign Policy, Smokin' D's BBQ Fusion, Refill Station, Nom Mi Street, Tu-Go Kitchen and Corey's Kitchen. Be sure to take the time to stroll the grounds of the Spanish mission-style winery, with its stone walls, arched windows and domed bell tower. Noon to 8 p.m. July 23. 6310 Avenue T, Santa Fe. For information, call 409-925-1401 or visit haakwine.com. $7 to $10. — Susie Tommaney

Monday, July 24

Those who say that rock is dead have apparently never heard Queens of the Stone Age, the Josh Homme-fronted group universally regarded as one of the best rock bands of the past 20 years. Homme also appreciates rock and roll’s roots, so it makes sense that he partnered up with the legendary Iggy Pop to produce Pop’s 2016 album Post Pop Depression. The two chronicled the album’s conception and recording, along with a subsequent tour, and the result is American Valhalla. The rock doc features previously unheard interviews and all-access backstage insight. “Our programming team were offered the chance to screen the film and, as fans of both Iggy Pop and Josh Homme, we jumped at the chance,” says Robert Saucedo, programming director for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. 7:30 p.m. July 24. Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park, 531 Mason, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com. Ages six and up; younger children will only be allowed in with an adult. $10. — Clint Hale

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