21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Pancakes, Booze and Star Wars

Come early and come hungry, because one of our favorite events, the Pancakes & Booze Art Show, returns to Warehouse Live this Friday.
Come early and come hungry, because one of our favorite events, the Pancakes & Booze Art Show, returns to Warehouse Live this Friday. Photo courtesy of the Pancakes & Booze Art Show
Tuesday, June 6

Leave the hallucinogenics at home, because the latest offering from the Transitory Sound and Movement Collective delivers a trippy visual world courtesy of painter and video artist Lillian Warren, whom we named one of our 100 Creatives for 2012. While the rest of us curse, honk and fume over Houston traffic, Warren discovered its hidden beauty in her "Trafficscapes" series, which she described to us in an interview five years ago. "I saw this long multi-level snake of cars winding through space and time, everyone sealed in a personal cocoon, all of us trapped in no man's land, unwilling but docile participants in this insane experience." Tuesday's show, Aqueous Adventures a.k.a. The Slippery Slope to Swell Town, merges Warren's incredible visuals with an intense sonic space created by sound artists Lynn Lane and Paul Connolly. Dance artist Annie Arnault adds magic and movement to create a dynamic, improvisational experience. 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 6. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit $10 to $15. – Susie Tommaney

Mixing fact and theatrical fiction, Something Rotten! tells the very original story of two brothers, Nick and Nigel Bottom, who run an actors’ troupe in the time of William Shakespeare (a.k.a. the 1590s). Jam-packed with silliness, songs and characters, the national tour is coming in courtesy of BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby. Shakespeare is all the rage, which makes it tough for the Bottom brothers to secure backing for their own efforts. Autumn Hurlbert plays Portia, the Puritan young woman who becomes Nigel’s love interest. “It’s more of an homage to characters within Shakespeare’s plays,” she says. “The best part is no one knows anything about Shakespeare other than what he wrote. So it’s fun to create this rock-star modern persona of Shakespeare.” Nick steals money to see a soothsayer and, after asking what the next big play will be, is told it’s a musical. The brothers get busy but don’t exactly follow a straightforward path. Shakespeare himself gets into the competition (appearing as “Toby Belch”) when he hears that the brothers are trying to steal his play. You don’t have to know Shakespeare to recognize all the characters and allusions, but if you do, Hurlbert says Easter eggs abound. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Through June 11. 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit $30 to $90. – Margaret Downing

Wednesday, June 7

William Shakespeare knew veterans. He was surrounded by them. He wrote about them memorably and gave their characters great and lasting lines. So it made sense to Stephan Wolfert that when he was putting together his one-man show, Cry Havoc, that he use some of Shakespeare’s words intermixed with his own experiences to get across his own feelings about war, service and death. “He either provides a language that I lack to express how I feel or think or he elicits feelings in me when I hear it. It’ll pull up a feeling or memory I didn’t even remember I had. That tends to be the reaction of the audience as well,” says the man who left home and joined the Minnesota National Guard to escape his family and then became an actor to help himself and other veterans transition back to normal society (he refers to it as “de-cruiting”) after coming out of military life. It’s a return visit to Houston for Wolfert. Last year he fit in a few shows on off nights when New York’s Bedlam theater company was in town doing Saint Joan. This year, as more people know what he’s all about, he’s here for more performances, once again hosted by 4th Wall Theatre Co. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through June 18. Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit $29 to $49, $23 seniors, $15 students and $10 veterans with the code “Vet.” – Margaret Downing

It’s season-finale time at the Alley Theatre, and they’ve decided to go out with a production of Freaky Friday, the Disney musical based on the popular 1976 and 2003 movies made from the widely read 1972 novel by Mary Rodgers. Mom and daughter swap bodies for 24 hours and find out it can be tough as a teen or overworked mom. Heidi Blickenstaff (Broadway: Something Rotten!, The Addams Family; Disney’s The Little Mermaid and The Full Monty) stars as the mom and says going back and forth between the characters is a joy for an actor. “For me playing Katherine is a breeze, but Ellie is nothing like me,” she says. “To be able to play a crazy 16-year-old who doesn’t think of consequences and is pretty selfish and only wants to do what she wants is really fun, because I was never that way. It’s really liberating.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through July 2. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit $26 to $103. – Margaret Downing

Sometimes you just need to make like Madonna and express yourself. Travis Wall, the So You Think You Can Dance contestant-turned-Emmy-winning-choreographer, is back to show us the stories that are unraveling in his head in Shaping Sound: After the Curtain. Along with his dance buddies Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson, he created a story line about a man’s search for love in a sea of desperation, complete with several different dance styles meant to create a dynamic expression of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Choreographer Wall says, “It deals with dark matters and you see what he goes through. It rips your heart out.” For all the SYTYCD junkies out there, yes, there will be appearances by former winners, including tapper Gabby Diaz. Be sure to bring a box of tissues — you’re going to need it. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 832-487-7041 or visit $35.50 to $80.50. – Sam Byrd

Picture it: A gay boy from East Berlin gets wooed by a sugar daddy, finds the opportunity to go to America by way of a botched sex surgery, and ends up becoming a transgender rock star. Obsidian Theater, in partnership with Standing Room Only Productions, presents Hedwig and the Angry Inch to tell the tale of the golden boy turned glam-rock girl. “It’s an hour and 25 minutes of a band playing, and it just so happens the lead singer has been through darkness, trials and tribulations, and for whatever reason, this will be the time she decides to open up and talk about the band and these songs,” says director Chris Patton. They gave her an inch, but Hedwig takes a mile. 8 p.m. Wednesday (premiere). Continues 8 p.m. June 21-24, 29-30, July 1. Midnight showings on June 9, 16, and 24. 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-889-7837 or visit $15 to $30. – Sam Byrd

Perhaps Wonder Woman’s greatest superpower is enduring for the past 75 years as a wildly unstable signifier. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot in the title role, further adds to this complicated, contradictory cluster of signs and symbols. The movie arrives six months after the comic-book character was dropped as an ambassador for a U.N. campaign seeking to achieve gender equality, and a year after Gadot’s Wonder Woman made a fleeting appearance in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This movie begins when she opens a package to find a memento, sending the narrative back further in time to young Diana’s upbringing in the all-female enclave Themyscira, aka Paradise Island, a piece of land that could form an archipelago with the Isle of Lesbos and Cherry Grove. Led by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), Diana’s mother, and the regent’s sister, Antiope (Robin Wright), the Amazons in Jenkins’ movie are not only of different races but also observe various forms of gender expression, from stone butch to soft femme — a welcome, near-subversive display of body types and builds. 11:45 a.m.; 3:20, 4:15, 7 and 10 p.m. June 7. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 531 South Mason Road, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit $8.66 to $10.83. – Melissa Anderson

Thursday, June 8

Set in exotic India of old, choreographed by artistic director Stanton Welch — complete with its stunning Act III corps de ballet sequence with 24 ballerinas in white tutus — La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer) returns to the Houston Ballet. This marks the fourth time that principal dancer Karina Gonzalez will perform Welch’s choreography in the role of Nikiya, the temple dancer. “I got promoted to principal [in 2013] with this role,” she says. She’ll be paired with principal Connor Walsh as Solor, the soldier she falls for despite being bespoken to the gods. Solor kills a tiger that was threatening the village; in return, the rajah assigns him to marry his eldest daughter. When the jealous daughter dispatches Nikiya with a poisonous snake, Solor goes to dreamland with the help of some opium, which leads to the “Kingdom of the Shades” scene. With so many roles involved in this production, which closes out Houston Ballet’s season, Gonzalez says “it’s a chance for every single dancer to have a bright moment onstage.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. Through June 18. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit $25 to $195. – Margaret Downing

In Sonic Sea, a 60-minute documentary chronicling the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales and other marine life, the sound of human-made ships often causes chaos among the aquatic creatures for whom communicating via sonar is a way of life. Narrated by Rachel McAdams and featuring the music of Sting, the film tells the story of a former U.S. Navy officer who solved this tragic mystery and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean. For this screening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, special guest Heidi Whitehead, a marine biologist and executive director of the Texas Marine Mammal Standing Network, will provide commentary on marine life and what can be done to sustain it. 6:30 p.m. Thursday. 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit $12 to $18. – Sam Byrd

Friday, June 9

“Come early and come hungry!” says Tom Kirlin, founder of the Pancakes & Booze Art Show, because sometimes the best advice is the simplest, and he knows that everyone loves free pancakes, especially when they’re paired with his traveling art show. “We take out the pretentious vibe of most art events and provide a fun atmosphere to enjoy exhibiting, viewing and buying artwork. There’s free food, good music and a variety of artwork for everyone’s taste,” says Kirlin. More than 100 artists will be on hand, along with live performances, body painting, drinks and food, but Kirlin says that Houston’s art scene is thriving, so even if it is the pancakes and music that draw folks in, they’ll “leave with a full taste of what Houston’s art scene has to offer.” And needless to say, this one is for those 18 and over only, please. 7 p.m. Friday. Warehouse Live, 813 Saint Emanuel. For information, call 713-225-5483 or visit $7 to $13. – Natalie de la Garza

Slow-motion sucker punches, a dancing chicken and a protracted death scene are all on the program with Suchu Dance's annual iteration of the non-traditional in Comedy Dance Festival 2017. From an early start, Artistic Director Jennifer Wood found the humor in dance (joking in ballet class, adding something silly to her choreography in grad school), but she's finally found an outlet for those shenanigans with her giggle-tastic fest. Artists from Houston and Austin depict feculence through interpretive dance, demonstrate the feeling of wearing cockroach-infested pants, and deliver moves so inappropriate that audience members will be forced to laugh. There's a different program each weekend so better catch all three acts; if you snooze, you lose. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. June 9 through June 24. MECA, 1900 Kane. For information, call 832-377-8248 or visit Pay what you want; $20 suggested donation. – Susie Tommaney

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