Lighting designer Kaori Kuwabara collaborated with Pipilotti Rist in creating Pixel Forest Transformer, where thousands of hanging LED lights change color in this new exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Lighting designer Kaori Kuwabara collaborated with Pipilotti Rist in creating Pixel Forest Transformer, where thousands of hanging LED lights change color in this new exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Photo by Mancia Bodner, courtesy of Kunsthaus Zürich

21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Pixel Forest and Hot Undies Run

Tuesday, June 13

Last year’s Kusama exhibit was the epitome of cool. The Instagrammer’s dream had us clamoring for those highly coveted spots inside the polka-dotted Love Is Calling and the incandescent Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity. So how does the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, top last summer’s blockbuster? “Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest and Worry Will Vanishoffers more temporal experiences, with thousands of hanging LED lights that change color and rhythms and a dream-state video about becoming one with nature. “The camera closes in on the image of a woman sleeping and then you go down the rabbit hole like Alice,” says organizing curator Alison de Lima Greene, the MFAH’s Isabel Brown Wilson curator of modern and contemporary art. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 13. Continuing 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through September 17. 1001 Bissonnet, 713-639-7300, mfah.org. Free to $18. – Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, June 14

The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad, yet it holds a distinct place in our country’s past. For one day, the Galveston Historical Foundation will host The Making of the Underground Railroad to highlight the culture that surrounded the American Civil War era. This program will kick off with a performance by Mrs. Sherman Batiste Boyer from Saint Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church and musicians from Market Street Baptist Church, followed by presentations on key Underground Railroad figures, including Menard Thomas, Richard Nelson, Lavenia Bell and Harriet Tubman. Also, be sure to check out the coded-quilts exhibit, which shows how quilt patterns held secret messages about escaping the South. Space is limited, so reservations are required. 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. June 14. The 1838 Menard House and Grounds, 1605 33rd Street, Galveston. For information, call 409-765-3453 or visit galvestonhistory.org. Free. – Sam Byrd

This three-day big Tex battle pitting the super-hot Houston Astros against the Texas Rangers comes to a close this Wednesday, but not before some awesome swag gets handed out. The first 10,000 fans through the gate receive a Lone Star Series T-shirt, presented by The Smile Generation. Our advice is to eat a light lunch because it's also $1 hot-dog night, and we've seen more than a few trying to best their own personal record for downing those Nolan Ryan dogs. The 'Stros are doing an amazing job this season, so come and show some of that H-Town love. 7:10 p.m. June 14. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. For information, call 877-927-8767 or visit astros.com. $14 to $101. – Susie Tommaney

Aye aye, Captain. Get a crash course in what it's like to live the nautical life at this year's Houston Summer Boat Show. Figure out which boat is best for you: fishing boats, bass boats, cabin cruisers, bowriders, sailboats, personal watercrafts or trawlers. Then work backwards to interview reps from area marinas, insurance carriers, tackle shops and the inevitable boat and motor repair guru. This year's attractions include a demo by pro angler Chuck Devereaux as he casts his lure in the let's-hope-the-glass-holds 5,000-gallon Bass Tub aquarium. Junior fisherboys and girls will gravitate towards the Kid's Zone with Royale the Robot Ranger, the fully-stocked Fish-O-Rama and the crash-tastic bumper boats, inflatables and bungee trampoline. Bring $12 cash for parking. 1 to 8 p.m. June 14-16; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 17; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 18. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1400 or visit houstonboatshows.com. Free to $12. – Susie Tommaney

Thursday, June 15

Welcome to the Planet Ridiculon with RiffTrax Live: Summer Shorts Beach Party. Forget being all polite and PC; the RiffTrax regulars (Bridget Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl, the Mads from MST3K Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff) are certified experts in finding the funny in just about everything, and for this summer-themed night of crazy they'll be riffing on educational shorts. Joining them is guest riffer Paul F. Tompkins, plus you won't want to miss Rich “Lowtax” Kyanka's special video segment. Surf's up, so ride this wave all the way home for a special grand finale: the Super Riff-A-Palooza. 7 p.m. June 15 and 7:30 p.m. June 20 (encore). Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for a list of participating venues. $13.53. – Susie Tommaney

Don your bonnets and parasols for protection from the hot June sun and make your way to Brazos Bookstore’s Summer of Austen Ball. Though the three-month-long “Summer of Austen” events coincide with the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, “[the ball] has no pretension of seriousness whatsoever, or of somberness,” says Sara Balabanlilar, the shop’s marketing director. “We’re going to push all of our furniture out of the way and create a perfect Regency-era ball, but Brazos-style.” Balabanlilar says that style is a little bit quirky, a little bit weird and silly, and the bookstore has “combined [it] with a real sense of wanting to honor the works of [Austen].” Dance lessons and refreshments will be provided, and anyone who wears his or her finest Regency dress to any Austen event will get 10 percent off the purchase. 7 p.m. June 15. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. – Natalie de la Garza

It’s sort of a smorgasbord for dance lovers. With ballet, modern, contemporary and even a touch of Indian classical (Kathak and Bharatanatyam), this year’s Barnstorm Dance Fest delivers three completely different programs over its two-week run. Program A kicks off the fest on Thursday with local dance makers (6 Degrees, Open Dance Project) and a Dallas import by way of Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. “They have not been part of the festival before,” says Mollie Haven Miller, executive director of presenter Dance Source Houston. “It’s a solo called Chatter, about crosstalk and mind chatter and the cluttering of the minds.” Attending all three programs provides a nice overview from established and emerging artists, and Miller tells us that the fest also includes workshops and a master class. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. June 15 through June 24. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-672-2091 or visit dancesourcehouston.org. $20 to $50. – Susie Tommaney

A little Spring, deep in the heart of summer. While best known for theater and comedy, Rec Room is offering a little something different in a modern adaption of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. “Our version is certainly not a ballet!” says Stephanie Wittels, Rec Room’s executive director, adding it definitely could be categorized as “avant-garde.” “Choreographer Laura Gutierrez has adapted this very much in the spirit of who we are at Rec Room, and [director] Matt [Hune] is staging it in our back room, a 600-square-foot gallery. Rarely will audiences have the chance to experience a show like this in such an intimate space.” One of the show’s perks? Audience members are encouraged to bench-hop during the show, in order to get different perspectives! 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. June 15 through July 8. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. $10 to $25. – Vic Shuttee

The National Gallery in London did all the work — assembling the largest-ever collection of Leonardo da Vinci paintings — and now it's our turn to reap the rewards. The filmmakers from Armchair Travel: Exhibition on Screen were there for the opening night excitement at "Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan," adding to the cinematic experience with snippets from art historian/broadcaster Tim Marlow and behind-the-scenes preparations. The folks over at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, have supersized the screening of Leonardo from the National Gallery London with a free post-film concert of Renaissance music by Carlos Lopez Consort in Gallery 214. Consort will perform using both Renaissance-era and modern instruments. 2 to 3:30 p.m. June 15 and June 18. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. – Susie Tommaney

There's nothing more exciting than being a daub away from getting five in a row, unless it's actually hearing that final number-letter-combo and being able to jump up and down and yell "BINGO!" Winning is great – there are cash prizes, gift certificates and other giveaways – but really everybody wins with the hip and trendy Blanket Bingo event at Historic Market Square Park. Come early (they start selling tickets at 6 p.m. and sometimes sell out within 30 minutes), spread out your blanket or lawn chair, and grab a cold one from Niko Niko's. Feeling extroverted? They’re always looking for volunteers to hold up letters and numbers. A sawbuck gets you one bingo packet (usually nine games), and they begin calling out numbers and letters at 7 p.m. Street parking is free after 6 p.m., so no more excuses. 6 to 9 p.m. June 15. 301 Milam. For information, call 713-650-3022 or visit marketsquarepark.com. $10. – Susie Tommaney

Get some exercise, shock the neighborhood locals and have a great time during this Saturday's Hot Undies Run.
Get some exercise, shock the neighborhood locals and have a great time during this Saturday's Hot Undies Run.
Photo by Jack Gorman

Friday, June 16

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, but Houstonians won’t have to travel too far to see them. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston is bringing the best of the Great White Way during Broadway, Boys & Boas. Filled with show tunes, the production will take us all the way from classics like Cabaret and Hello, Dolly! to modern productions like Hamilton and Kinky Boots, all told through a rainbow-tinted lens. Director Kenneth Clayborne says, “It tells a story of the perils and happiness of Broadway and how it relates to the LGBTQ community today.” Insider secret: He also let it slip that the group planned a not-to-miss men’s version of Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” that will tantalize the inner vixen in all of us. 7 p.m. June 16. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713?521?4533 or visit matchouston.org. $10 to $20. – Sam Byrd

Novelist Holly Charles has penned her first play, a story about a financially thriving couple caring for a dementia-striken elder who refuses to leave her home in Fourth Ward — a place she knows as Freedman’s Town. With In All Thy Getting: The Forgotten Story of Freedmen’s Town, Charles is learning how to use her gift for good. “I had this dilemma in my mind,” the Houston Black Leadership Institute graduate says. “I became obsessed with Rutherford BH Yates Museum, but I don’t have money to give. I know what they need in order to preserve this side of town, but…I’m a schoolteacher. That’s when it hit me. Stop looking in my own pockets. With talent, there are other things that God gives for you to use. What can I write that can help?” Thus, a play was born. 8 p.m. June 16-18; 2 p.m. June 17-18, Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main. For information, visit ensemblehouston.org. $25. – Vic Shuttee

One of rock's earliest fashionistas, Sir Elton John has remained on the cutting edge of glam, always keeping one step ahead of the hoi polloi. While those high-heeled boots, blinged-out glasses and fur-lined shoulder pads might have given way to other styles over his 45 years in the industry, John's music remains relevant and Houstonians get to hear two nights of the knighted one's favorites, courtesy of the song-happy vocalists over at EaDo Playhouse in Still Standing: The Music of Sir Elton John. Hear "Rocket Man," "Tiny Dancer," "Candle in the Wind," "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and many more for this two-day run. 8 p.m. June 16 and June 17. 2619 McKinney. For information, call 832-210-5200 or visit eadoplayhouse.com. $20. – Susie Tommaney

Saturday, June 17

Marathoners, you’re doing it wrong. Take a lead from the Hot Undies Run by stripping down to your skivvies, running a few miles around Rice Village and celebrating with a few cold beverages throughout the jog. The annual event is back and ready to shock (or delight) a few unsuspecting weekend shoppers, all while raising money for Girls On The Run Greater Houston. If running in tightey-whiteys isn’t your thing, costumes are also popular. “Usually, you see costumes that are kind of thematic with what’s happening in pop culture and our daily lives. I imagine we’ll have a Donald Trump...maybe a Russian theme. In the past, we’ve had everything from Star Wars to a whole bridal party. You can never tell what’s going to come out. They’re hilarious, though,” says event organizer Dave Lee. 11 a.m. June 17. Gorgeous Gael, 5555 Morningside. For information, visit thedriven.net/hot-undies-run. $40. – Sam Byrd

We’re not sure which is the bigger draw: The first chance to see the iconic East End space in its new incarnation as The Beacon Theatre, the free shot of alcohol at the door or watching extroverts embarrass themselves for the sake of art. The clock is ticking as playwrights come up with a new short before handing it off to directors and actors to learn lines (with mixed results), find props and costumes and be ready when the curtain rises 24 hours later. “The great thing is that it’s the perfect kind of theater for non-theater people,” says Christine Weems, who serves as artistic director for Cone Man Running Productions’ presentation of Spontaneous Smattering X. “This is the fun, corny ride you want to go on. You never know what’s going to happen.” Donations of school supplies and proceeds benefit area teachers. 7 and 9:45 p.m. June 17. 5102 Navigation. For information, call 281-972-5897 or visit conemanrunning.com. $20. – Susie Tommaney

Alan Austin likes to call Lucie Robert one of his secret weapons. As general and artistic director, Austin had a vision and a Texas-size dream of something bigger for the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival®; the annual fest got its boost 20 years ago when he brought in the violinist, who brought with her a background as a recording artist, chamber musician and professor. “She’s playing two pieces, wonderful French violin pieces; they are opposites,” says Austin about this year’s concert, Orchestral Colors. “One is a beautiful, lyrical piece, [Ernest Chausson’s] Poème, and that’s paired with a piece by [Maurice Ravel] called Tzigane, which means Gypsy. It’s a whole different kettle of fish. You get two ends of the artistic spectrum, and she plays both of them beautifully.” Arrive early for a pre-concert lecture, “Settling the Score,” at 6:30 p.m., and pre-concert entertainment. 7:30 p.m. June 17. Moores School of Music, 3333 Cullen Boulevard, Room 120. For information, call 713-743-3388 or visit uh.edu/cota/music/tmf/season-schedule. $15 to $25. – Susie Tommaney

"This ain't your mama's roller derby" is their motto. Let's get ready to rumble, because the skating powerhouses of Houston Roller Derby are bringing the action to Revention Music Center with another double header of crowd-pleasing action. Game one pits The Brawlers (co-captained by Payo Dues and Hellen Killer) against The Valkyries (led by Hot Assets and Slayer Moon). The rough and tumble continues when the Bayou City Bosses (with captain and co-captain Betty Watchett and Dropkick Betty) pit brain and brawn against the Psych Ward Sirens (led by Jekyll & Heidi and Mad Milkshake). Doors open at 6 p.m.; each bout has two 30-minute periods with breaks in between. It's all for a good cause, benefiting the Houston Area Women's Center, and don't miss the raucous after-party at Lucky's Pub in the Heights. 6 to 10:30 p.m. June 17. 520 Texas. For information, visit houstonrollerderby.com. $15 to $200. – Susie Tommaney

Sunday, June 18

On February 2, 1959, after the 11th stop on their Winter Dance Party Tour, three of rock and roll’s originators — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson — died in a plane crash a little more than an hour after they played their last song and 329 adoring fans filed out of the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Texas Family Musicals re-creates that final, bittersweet concert in The Night the Music Died, and Executive Producer Mike Skiles says to expect a theatrical production, not an impersonation act, that “literally throws [audiences] into a sea of nostalgia.” “For two hours, you have no problems, just like you did when you were 16,” adds Skiles. “Enjoy it.” 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. June 16; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. June 17-18 and June 30-July 2. Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, call 855-667-1221 or visit texasfamilymusicals.com. $25 to $50. – Natalie de la Garza

Monday, June 19

Resident Evil is one of those rare video-game franchises that actually have a series of well-received blockbuster movie adaptations. In fact, it has two wholly separate series. Here’s a chance to see the lesser-known, but no less excellent, CGI-animated series in theaters. Fathom Events is presenting Resident Evil: Vendetta, the third installment in the Capcom-produced animated tie-ins. Veteran zombie hunters Chris Redfield, Leon S. Kennedy and professor Rebecca Chambers take on a sinister figure intent on using bioweapons on New York City in a film set sometime between the events of Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. If you’re a fan of the game series but haven’t sampled the animated movie franchise, this is a great jumping-off point, and well worth the price of admission for those who oppose the evil Umbrella Corporation. 7 and 10 p.m. June 19. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX3, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for participating venues. $13.53. – Jef Rouner

Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, venturing farther south than anyone had ever gone before and climbing the active volcano Mount Erebus, which earned him a knighthood from King Edward VII upon his return. Now a new exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science re-creates his 1907 campsite and hut through 360-degree photography. “There will be an exterior photograph of the cabin blown up to full size to give visitors a feel for where Shackleton camped during the expedition at Cape Royds,” wrote Daniel M. Brooks, Ph.D., HMNS’s curator of vertebrate zoology, in his email to us. “Accompanying this will be a dozen photographs detailing all aspects of the interior — worn leather boots, boxes of food that doubled as ‘furniture,’ and even an old cast-iron stove.” Be sure to take a selfie next to the Adelie and Magellanic penguins from the museum’s collections. “Faces From the Southern Ocean” also features wildlife photography by J.J. L’Heureux about the inhabitants of this icy region, including reindeer, seals and penguins. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. June 19 through November 5. 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit hmns.org. Free to $25. – Susie Tommaney

As the heat climbs, nothing cools like great music. “Gulf Coast Juneteenth is a celebration of the African-American influence on the music of this area,” says Cissy Segall-Davis, Miller Outdoor Theatre’s managing director, who booked the amazing roster of soul and R&B artists, including iconic singer Mavis Staples, legendary bluesman Milton Hopkins and J Paul Jr’s Zydeco NuBreedz. “Pops Staples, Mavis’s father, once went to a Martin Luther King rally and famously said, ‘If he can preach it, we can sing it!’ And that makes not just for great gospel music, but for socially conscious soul singing.” Davis hopes Juneteenth feels “extra special,” because for the first time, Miller was given money by the National Endowment for the Arts. “You see people of all backgrounds out here, multi-generations of families, enjoying the show, shoulder to shoulder.” 7 p.m. June 19. 6000 Hermann Park. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free. – Vic Shuttee

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