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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Dynamo Star Wars Night, Comicpalooza

The Dynamo are hot right now, but they'll be out of this world Friday for the epic Houston Dynamo Star Wars night.EXPAND
The Dynamo are hot right now, but they'll be out of this world Friday for the epic Houston Dynamo Star Wars night.
Photo by Trask Smith, Houston Dynamo
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Tuesday, May 9

If someone regrettably gets a minor boo-boo during the opening match-up of a swift two-game slate between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, the call of “is there a doctor in the house?” will be answered en masse. That’s because it’s Medical Professionals Appreciation Night, which entitles folks in Houston’s medical community to cheaper tickets in the mezzanine and field box IV sections at Minute Maid Park, as well as Astros navy scrub tops for the first 500 purchasers. As for the game, the Braves seemed to be on a pace similar to 2016’s last-place finish in the National League East before they performed with more spunk in mid-April inside their brand-new $622 million SunTrust Park. The Astros will hope to lean on their explosive bats and some home cooking in order to further ATL’s road woes. 7:10 p.m. May 9. Also 1:10 p.m. May 10. 501 Crawford. For information, call 713-259-8500 or visit astros.com. $6 to $89. — Steve Jansen

Wednesday, May 10

In the opening scene, a teenage couple, both recovering meth addicts, lose custody of their baby, who has been brought to the hospital in bad condition. Caroline, a social worker, gives them the news that they won’t be taking their daughter home. In Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale, the baby is essential to all that follows (although never seen in the flesh onstage) as the social worker struggles with who is the best person to raise a child. Seth Gordon is back in Houston to direct the play at Stages Repertory Theatre. “The social worker needs to figure out exactly what to do with the baby and she’s faced with a moral issue: the choice between allowing the kids to put themselves back together so they can have their baby returned to them or whether one of their parents should take the child.” Carolyn Johnson (End of the Rainbow) plays the social worker, Justin Doran (Shear Madness) is Pastor Jay, and the actors playing Karlie (Tanith Albright) and Peter (Jeremy Gee) are undergraduates at Sam Houston State University. Gordon says he’s a fan of Gilman’s work because of the way she tackles tough issues. “She also writes plays about characters who are sort of swimming upstream. They’re having difficulty navigating.” 7:30 p.m. May 10. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. May 10 through May 28. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21 to $65. — Margaret Downing

Thursday, May 11

It is a modern classic, the story of two teenage boys in 1940s Brooklyn from rival yeshivas, one Hasidic and the other Modern Orthodox, with news of the Holocaust in the background. During an intense baseball game, batter Danny Saunders (played by John Forgy) hits a ball hard into the face of pitcher Reuven Malter (Brian Chambers), who ends up in the hospital. Danny comes to visit Reuven and the resulting friendship lasts for years despite all sorts of difficulties, including one father forbidding his son to talk to the other boy. It’s Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, first a book read by millions around the world and then a play, presented here as a co-production of Theater LaB Houston and the Evelyn Rubenstein Houston Jewish Community Center. “I think that it’s a timely story in that there’s several themes: father and son, family expectation; there’s splits that happen that will feel like people have to take sides,” says director Linda Phenix. “And then what the people do with that.” Also, she adds, “It’s very important that we continue to educate future generations about the Holocaust.” With a cast that also includes Steve Garfinkel as Reb Saunders, Brad Goertz as The Narrator (older) Reuven Malter and Trevor B. Cone as David Malter, Phenix says this is a good show “for a family to see and then have so much to talk about later.” 7:30 p.m. May 11. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Sundays. May 11 through May 21. The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-868-7516 or visit thelabhou.org. $22 to $42. — Margaret Downing

Before One Direction, the Jonas Brothers and other modern boy bands, there were ’60s sensations Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, now on tour with their biggest hits throughout the years. The “Big Girls Don’t Cry” crooner will always be remembered for other songs, like “Walk Like a Man,” “Rag Doll” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” but Valli’s powerful falsetto was also responsible for dozens of other Top 40 hits during the band’s career. They sold more than 100 million records between 1962 and 1978 alone, and who could forget the account of their lives in the hit Broadway musical (and later film) Jersey Boys? 8 p.m. May 11. Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington Boulevard. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $65 to $125. — Sam Byrd

The whole nanny cheating scandal gave us a glimpse into Jude Law's personal demons, but the megastar plays a different role in Obsession, where his handsome (of course) but down-on-his-luck character Gino begins a torrid affair with the beautiful Giovanna while plotting to kill her husband. Love, temptation and fear are all on the menu in this roadside restaurant drama, brought to the London stage at the prestigious Barbican Theatre. Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge) directs this new stage adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s 1943 film. This one's smoking hot and, yes, Law does take his shirt off in a scene. NT LIVE: Obsession is being broadcast live to big screens courtesy of Fathom Events and BY Experience. 7 p.m. May 11. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for participating venues. $25.98. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, May 12

Don’t go mental if you’re standing in a concessions line at BBVA Compass Stadium behind R2-D2. It’s all part of the second annual Houston Dynamo Star Wars Night, which ties in with Comicpalooza. Before the Dynamo kick off against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Star Wars characters will line the orange carpet on the field. Throughout the night, they’ll mingle on the concourse, where fans (dressed up in comic gear or otherwise) can grab photos with many of George Lucas’s creations. For a pretty sweet price, folks can score a game ticket and a limited-edition Dynamo Star Wars scarf; additionally, select lucky ducks have a chance to win a copy of Rogue One. “It’s fun to see the characters interact with the kids who have just started watching Star Wars and the older adults who grew up on it,” says Dynamo spokeswoman Valerie Holland. 8 p.m. May 12. 2200 Texas. For information, call 713-276-4625 or visit houstondynamo.com/starwars. $36. — Steve Jansen

Step right up, folks, and witness the unique, strange and unintentional oddities at Mystic Errata, Zine Fest Houston's showcase of monoprints and misprints. We all know errors, plate flaws, typos and misprints can cause the value of stamps, comics and books to skyrocket; so come view these one-of-a-kind treasures in the window display case at Mystic Lyon. This evening also serves as the opening-night shindig for Zine Fest Houston's 2017 compilation; peruse and purchase works by self-publishers Eye Sore, Rene Cruz, Ryan Francisco, Josh Higgins, Brett Hollis, Gabriel Martinez and Travis Oren Smith, as well as the adventurous team of Erik Sultzer and Emily Halbardier (The Center for Imaginative Cartography and Research). 6 p.m. May 12. 5017 Lyons Avenue. For information, visit zinefesthouston.org or on Facebook. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Don’t call Chase Padgett’s 6 Guitars a comeback. Or a concert. “It’s a hybrid of music, comedy and characters,” says Padgett of the genre-defying one-man show he has toured for years, which comes to Houston by way of Lott Entertainment Presents. For the performance (let’s call it that), the Fringe festival favorite portrays six guitar players, each with his own musical style and story, using one guitar and a pedalboard. “By the end, they all have come to a similar realization, which is: It doesn’t matter what you play. It just matters that you play,” says Padgett. 6 Guitars is a journey of fulfillment and challenge, using the metaphor of music, he says. “Music teaches us how to be the kind of people that we’re supposed to become.” 8 p.m. May 12-13. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $27 to $37. — Katricia Lang

He fooled the scientists; now it's time to see for yourself whether the world's leading mentalist truly possesses psychic powers and the ability to read minds and predict the future. Banachek (the first magician to successfully perform the buried alive escape broadcast live on syndicated television) is set to introduce mystery after mystery at 14 Pews and, whether you're a skeptic or a believer, don't be surprised if you're asked to participate in the inexplicable. The researchers conducting tests for Project Alpha at Washington University fell under his charm, believing the 18-year-old's psychic abilities were genuine and blurring the lines between illusion and reality. What is real is the launching of a lifelong career as a mentalist and skeptic, who has partnered with entertainers David Blaine, Criss Angel and Penn and Teller. At Banachek: Telepathy, audience members will witness cutlery turned into a near liquid state and demonstrations of ESP while Saint Arnold Brewing Company turns it into a party with free beer (woot). 8 to 9:30 p.m. May 12. 800 Aurora. For information, call 281-888-9677 or visit 14pews.org. $16.50. — Susie Tommaney

The only connection between The 5 Browns and The Partridge Family is Nick at Nite reruns, according to Gregory Brown, middle child in the quintet composed of him and siblings Desirae, Deondra, Melody and Ryan. The group’s repertoire, though not a pop fantasia, does feature some Fantasia 2000. The pianists will perform scenes from Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite,” including the sweet “Round Dance of the Princesses” and “Infernal Dance,” in which sweetness is abruptly and “hostilely overtaken by struggle and pain,” says Gregory of the classical jump-scare. The group wants the audience to be moved and have fun at the concert, a homecoming for the Houston-born Browns. From a time zone away, Gregory says his memories of the Galleria and the balmy city make him feel like a kid again and, like classical music, stir his soul. 8 p.m. May 12. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-3974 or visit spahouston.org. $43 to $103. — Katricia Lang

“I came home crying because I hadn’t gotten in something,” recalls stand-up Liz Padjen. “And my sister was looking at me and said, ‘Your crying’s not doing anything to help. Do your own show if you’re dissatisfied with the festivals you’re getting in. Get off your ass and do something about it.’” And so she did. For one weekend in May, Liz and her sister, Emily “Padj” Padjen, will be producing Houston’s first all-female comedy event, the Yellow Rose Comedy Festival. “The name is definitely an ode to Yellow Rose of Texas, who helped beat Santa Anna and now is more of a legend who [represents] the women of the Texas Revolution,” Liz explains. “I wanted the image of the tenacity of women to resonate in the name.” Local favorites Maggie Maye, Olivia Arrington, Kathryn Way and more will perform alongside former MTV star Sara Schaefer. 7 p.m. May 12-13. 813 Emanuel. For information, call 801-706-8634 or visit yellowrosecomedyfestival.com. $20 to $55. — Vic Shuttee

The coolest cosplayers around can be found at Comicpalooza this weekend.
The coolest cosplayers around can be found at Comicpalooza this weekend.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Saturday, May 13

When John Simons sought to bring a legitimate comic con to Texas for the first time since the early 1980s, it took some legitimately hard work. “Houston had a terrible reputation. It was really hard with people in the industry — the vendors, exhibitors, agents, guests and all the people that you need,” says Simons, CEO of Comicpalooza producer Startling Events. “The people of Houston were always behind it,” Simons explains, “but it was essentially a sales call.” Held in 2008, the first Comicpalooza took place in a movie-theater lobby; this year’s event will consume more than 1.1 million square feet of the George R. Brown Convention Center. On tap are panel discussions, cosplay, gaming and celebrities including Chuck Norris, who Simons says hasn’t posted up at a comic con since 1974. 10 a.m. to midnight May 12 and 13, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 14. 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. For information, visit comicpalooza.com. $10 to $275. — Steve Jansen

Hard to believe, but Chris Rock is now a senior statesman on the stand-up circuit. Despite his roles in films like New Jack City and CB4 — and even his somewhat underplayed stint on Saturday Night Live — Rock truly broke through on ’90s HBO specials like Bring the Pain. Besides his up-and-down movie career, Rock’s personal peaks and valleys are a main theme throughout his stand-up set, including his successes and failings as a father and husband; his divorce finalized last year. Also expect some political opining, about which the once-controversial Rock has never been shy. Demand for this original date of his Total Blackout Tour at Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre was so high another has been added the night before. 8 p.m. May 12, 7 p.m. May 13. 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $69.50 to $125. — Clint Hale

Good news, ghouls and goblins. Halloween comes early this year with the 2017 Halfway to Halloween Bash, brought to us by The Houston Zombie Walk, Bud Light and Top Dog Halloween Madness. Everyone’s favorite excuse to dress as a sexy nurse or creepy clown will take place with drink specials, dancing and raffles every hour for tickets to all the major haunts of Houston and the Texas Renaissance Festival. Break out the finest cosplay wardrobe because there will be a contest with a $500 cash prize for the best costume. Zombie Walk chairman Darren Tompkins has some advice for partygoers. “You’ve got to see it to believe it. You don’t have to dress up, but you’ll wish you did. Go for broke.” Adding a little “treat” to the “tricks,” all the money for entry will go toward scholarships. 8 p.m. to midnight, May 13. Chapman and Kirby Nightclub, 218 Lamar. For information, visit facebook.com/events/262523517541701. $10 to $50. — Sam Byrd

Enjoy a trip through the East with AsiaFest 2017, Asia Society Texas Center’s annual family event featuring community performances, fusion cuisine, creative activities and local vendors — all to spotlight some of our multicultural city’s unique traits. Rose Rougeau, the center’s vice president of communication, says the party will be a nod to all the different traditions that have come together to make Houston so flavorful. “The purpose behind AsiaFest is to celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage month and to bring families together in celebration of Houston’s diverse cultures,” she explains. The month of May was chosen for this remembrance because it marks the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869; Chinese, as well as Irish, immigrants laid the track, in large part. Expect dancing, tai chi, martial arts, Taiwanese puppet shows, and Viet Wave music. Families can also enjoy making art with dragon-boat crafts, kites, origami and other activities. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 13. 1370 Southmore. For information, call 713-496-9901 or visit asiasociety.org/texas. Free. — Sam Byrd

The bigger the hat, the better, and it always helps if it's the same shade as Easter candy. There's something fun about giving in to our Southern drawl, donning a seersucker suit, and dressing up in fuschia hats and parasols. It's all part of the charm when the Fort Bend Museum hosts A Southern Garden Party with tasty treats, signature cocktails, live music and outdoor festivities. The venue? It's the stunning Victorian classic revival plantation home, built in 1883 on 12,000 acres and known as the Moore House. Texas cattleman John Matthew Moore attended Texas A&M University and served as a United States Congressman (he gave the home as a wedding present to his wife, Lottie Dyer Moore); the home remained in the family for more than 90 years. This year's garden party honors sixth-generation Richmond resident Virginia Scarborough and eighth-generation Texan Jess Stuart, both of whom have family ties to the first settlers in Fort Bend County. 3 to 6 p.m. May 13. 406 South 5th Street, Richmond. For information, call 281-342-6478 or visit fortbendmuseum.org/a-southern-garden-party.html. $15 to $45. — Susie Tommaney

It seems Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was married to a world-class publicist. After he composed Requiem in D minor, K. 626 in Vienna in 1791, the piece remained unfinished when the composer died later that year. Franz Xaver Süssmayr finished the work and delivered it to Count Franz von Walsegg, who might have succeeded in passing the composition off as his own were it not for the many stories spun in society by Mozart's widow, Constanze. While we may never know the full truth behind her theories (Mozart received the commission from a mysterious messenger, or he thought it was a requiem for his own funeral), there's no denying the power behind this profoundly moving work with its message of hopefulness and redemption. Mercury presents Mozart's Requiem, using the same instruments from Mozart's time, with guest artists Hannah Celeste Lu (soprano), Sarah Mesko (alto), Aaron Sheehan (tenor) and Stephen Hegedus (bass). Conducted by Antoine Plante and accompanied by members of the Houston Symphony Chorus, the program also includes Funeral Music for Queen Mary, Z.58c & Z. 860. For those looking to dig deeper, there's a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. where we'll learn more about the mystery behind the final touches for this composition. 8 p.m. May 13. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-533-0080 or visit mercuryhouston.org. $68. — Susie Tommaney

“How many of us, whether you’re a millennial or not, remember going to your grandmother’s house and sitting on the front porch watching them talk?” asks Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris, who will direct the world premiere of Melda Beaty’s Front Porch Society. Morris is betting sense memory alone will connect audiences to the porch where Beaty’s Carrie Honey sits on November 4, 2008 — the anniversary of her son’s brutal murder and the eve of Barack Obama’s historic election. Through four elderly women in Marks, Mississippi, the play explores community, sisterhood and racial injustice, but just as important, Morris says it’s a reminder of how “even in the most serious moments in life, something warm and humorous, or that just puts a smile on your face, happens. Life happens.” 2 and 8 p.m. May 13. Also 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. May 11 through June 4. 3535 Main. For information, call 713-520-0055 or visit ensemblehouston.com. $30 to $50. — Natalie de la Garza

In the ultimate battle of the sexes, Playhouse 1960 is pitting the men against the women in its presentation of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged. The bawdy and irreverent script by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield takes us through a fast-paced romp of 37 of the Bard's best plays, forcing the trio of actors to jump from role to role as they plow through Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus (as a cooking show, no less) and the rap-tastic Othello. On the first two weekends the ladies take the stage, and, for the final two weekends, the men will try their hand at the task. The woman who never sleeps, the very talented Christine Weems, directs these madcap men and women in tights. Our recommendation? Attend both versions and see which sex should be declared victor. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. May 5 through May 27. 6814 Gant. For information, call 281-587-8243 or visit playhouse1960.com. $15 to $18. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, May 14

Jeff is a nightwatchman in a middle-income Manhattan apartment. He’s in his late twenties, probably not living up to his potential, but his habit of talking too much makes it a good job for him. He gets drawn into a murder investigation involving his strict supervisor’s troubled brother, which also brings in another parallel pair: a veteran police officer and his young female partner. There are secrets enough to go around and Jeff has only bad options to sort through. Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero wraps comedy, drama and romance into one neat package (and is much lighter in tone than his recent hit movie Manchester by the Sea, according to Kim Tobin-Lehl, co-director of this 4th Wall Theatre Co. production with Jennifer Dean). Actor Adam Gibbs takes a break from musical theater to play Jeff, saying: “He is a very good-spirited, light-hearted, well-intentioned individual, but what speaks to me about Jeff and about this play generally is that all of the characters are very flawed. All four characters, you see them stuck between right and wrong. I think that the flaws are what makes these characters real to me.” The play’s two acts run about two hours, with intermission; also starring are Chelsea Ryan McCurdy as the young police officer, Drake Simpson as her older partner, and Joe Palmore as Jeff’s boss. 3 p.m. May 14. Also 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 29. May 11 through June 3. Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com. $15 to $49; pay what you can May 29. — Margaret Downing

Monday, May 15

You’ve read it, I’ve read it, President Obama read it last summer. In spring 2015, crime novelist Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train blew expectations away, selling 32 million copies globally and spawning legions of followers. According to store manager McKenna Davis, Murder by the Book was “one of only six stores” worldwide chosen to host the British author in person during the latest tour for follow-up Into the Water. Fellow writer Megan Abbott (HBO’s upcoming The Deuce) hosts Paula Hawkins In Conversation, where, Davis explains, attendees will get their new hardback signed and eavesdrop as two talented women of fiction talk shop. But don’t worry: Just because their work is harsh doesn’t mean these writers bite. “There’s almost a rule of thumb, that the [darker] the fiction they write, the funnier the author is in person!” Davis laughs. “But in my opinion, major successes always begin with a voice that captures your reader’s attention. As the book spirals downward into more unsettling material, the reader follows that voice.” 7 p.m. May 15. 2342 Bissonnet. For more information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. $35. — Vic Shuttee

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