Things To Do

21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: A Battle of the Sexes and Italian Fest Fun

Space Center Houston welcomes the landing module from Apollo 11 – the first time it's been away from the Smithsonian since 1971  –  in the "Destination Moon" exhibit.
Space Center Houston welcomes the landing module from Apollo 11 – the first time it's been away from the Smithsonian since 1971 – in the "Destination Moon" exhibit. Courtesy of Space Center Houston
October 10
Originally published in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel would go on to be read by generations of children and taught in countless schools. It told the story of ten-year-old Mary Lennox, whose home had been India up until the time she is orphaned in a cholera outbreak and sent to England, a land that is foreign to her. Eventually, a movie was made about this and more recently a musical was written, and it is that musical, The Secret Garden, that Theatre Under the Stars is bringing to Houston audiences. Lizzie Klemperer plays Lily Craven, the ghost and deceased wife of the British uncle, Archibald Craven, who takes in Mary. With the aid of a young friend, Mary eventually works through her grief by tending a neglected garden that once belonged to her Aunt Lily. “[Lily] comes in and out to sort of draw the living characters back to the garden,” Klemperer says, adding that the timing of this musical is especially appropriate given the hardship Houston has been through with Hurricane Harvey. “I think it will be a great time to bring some hope.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. October 10 through 22. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713?558-8887 or visit $30 to $108. – Margaret Downing

October 11
Staged right here in Houston’s Astrodome in 1973, the famous “Battle of the Sexes” pitted the young Billie Jean King against an older Bobby Riggs in a tennis match that was as much theater as sport. In Kevin Armento and Bryony Lavery’s Balls, a co-production of the One Year Lease Theater Company and Stages Repertory Theatre, actors delve into the meaning of this high-stakes event while the sounds of tennis balls fly through the air and land on the court. This will be the first time the New York City-based theater company known for the physicality of its performances will be doing a world premiere in a city other than its home, says co-director Nick Flint. “We didn’t need people who were professional tennis players, but we needed actors who were very versatile in their bodies in terms of working with theatrical movement,” Flint said. “A big part of the presentation is how do we embody tennis in a theatrical context. And also having to learn an inordinate amount of very specific choreography.” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. October 11 through 29. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit $25 to $55. – Margaret Downing

October 12
Who doesn’t love a good swing dancer? The style was all the rage in the 1920s through the ’40s, before eventually fizzling out in favor of hip thrusts and dirty dancing. But just like clothing, everything eventually comes back in style, especially with Swing, Baby, Swing! Inspired by the life and times of the original Lindy Hoppers of the Savoy Ballroom — the first integrated public ballroom in the United States — Norma Miller and Dance Houston’s new musical is all about love, joy and bringing people together. Those toes will keep tapping all night as the song list includes “Swing, Baby, Swing,” “Swingin’ Frankie’s Way,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday and October 13. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit Free. – Sam Byrd

Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp was not only a real-life crime-fighter, she also fought the societal biases against female law-enforcement officers in the early 20th century. California-based author Amy Stewart has immersed herself in Kopp’s world through newspaper clippings and rabbit holes of research, and her latest, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, picks up in the spring of 1916 where Lady Cop Makes Trouble left off. Stewart — who obsessively fact-checks the language, researches home furnishings in vintage catalogs and tries to divine the truth between the reporting of the Bergen County Democrat and the Hackensack Republican — will bring photos of Kopp to the book-signing event at Brazos Bookstore. “The interesting thing about 1916 is it seems so long ago, not yet World War I, still the Victorian era in terms of how we dressed and the morals and expectations. Women didn’t get the vote until the ’20s. It seems antiquated but still a lot of the same issues are what people are grappling with today,” says Stewart. She says it’s fascinating to look at what it was like for a woman to be a police officer a century ago, and we should expect to see more than a few female law-enforcement officers in the audience. 7 p.m. Thursday. 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit Free.
– Susie Tommaney

Mona Hatoum’s roots are in a part of the world whose popular narrative is shaped by conflict and torn by violence. And while this informs her art, sculptures that are shaped through minimalist optics, it adds to the layers of meaning. Her more than two dozen works will be showcased in Houston for the first time in 20 years. “The themes that Hatoum addresses in relationship to ideas of placelessness and disbelonging are so relevant to our contemporary moment, and my hope is that the exhibition will provide a compelling and provocative way of initiating conversation for our visitors,” says Michelle White, the senior curator who helped bring the collection to the Bayou City. The public is invited to Thursday’s opening reception of Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma. 7 p.m. Thursday. Hatoum will talk about her works at 7 p.m. Friday, October 13. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. October 13 through February 25. The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit Free. – Camilo Hannibal Smith

The United States spends more than $80 billion a year to incarcerate 25 percent of the world's inmates, despite having only 5 percent of the world's population. The socially minded and politically aware Ensemble Pi will address mass incarceration, its emotional effects and racial disparities head on during the Art and Incarceration: Poetry, Theatre and Music in and about Captivity Concert. The program includes Frederic Rzewski’s “Coming Together,” which includes text written by an inmate two years before he was killed in the 1971 Attica riots; Eleanor Cory’s “Rikers Island,” inspired by an anthology of written works from female inmates at the notorious New York prison; an excerpt from Joseph Assadourian’s one-man play, The Bullpen, based on Assadourian’s own incarceration; and Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, written and performed in a German POW camp. 7 p.m. Thursday. Rothko Chapel, 3900 Yupon. For information, call 713-524-9839 or visit Suggested donation $20. – Natalie de la Garza

Saint Anthony is the patron saint of things lost, whether they be objects, people or even souls. In Querido San Antonio (Dear Saint Anthony), set amidst a changing society during the early 1900s, award-winning Argentinian playwright Patricia Suárez follows three women as they look for love, look to find small possessions and look to break free from their prescribed societal and gender roles while attempting to reshape the world in their image. After a successful premiere back in April at Rice University, Gente de Teatro is once again staging the comedic play and again, all performances of the show, directed by Marcela Salas, will be in Spanish. English surtitles will be provided during Friday and Saturday's performances. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Also 7:30 p.m. October 13 and 14; 3:30 p.m. October 15. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit $25 to $35. – Natalie de la Garza

October 13
Roger Hodge left Texas just as fast as he could at age 18, eventually making a splash in New York as a writer and editor. He had not returned to his native soil for decades when something pulled him back: a fascination with the bad men and bad deeds haunting the Lone Star State’s southern borderlands over the course of its history. Part Texas history, part modern investigative journalism, and part memoir of his seven-generation ranching family, Texas Blood is a tome unlike any other. Hodge, who will sign and discuss his book Friday at Brazos, has a lot to say about the border with Mexico, where he spent a lot of time talking to people; the “political fantasy” of Trump’s Wall; and the state of state politicos in general. “How Texas came to be dominated by its most retrograde and backwards elements is a fascinating story,” he says in a publisher’s Q&A. “The yahoos eventually triumphed in Texas, but the story didn’t have to end up that way.” 7:30 p.m. Friday. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit Free. – Bob Ruggiero

Houston’s third poet laureate, Deborah Mouton, kicks off Houston Poetry Fest 2017, leading a gathering of 21 juried poets and four guest poets that will celebrate the art of poetry at the three-day festival. But Houston’s love and appreciation of poetry can’t be contained by one weekend; satellite events will continue around the city at places like MECA, Brazos Bookstore and Nuestra Palabra Arts & Books through October 20, adding even more diversity of style and content, according to fest president Robert Clark. “To hear people speak their mind, to find what they want to say, put it in words and get up in front of everybody and tell them,” says Clark, “I find that very exciting.” 2 p.m. Sunday. Also 7:30 p.m. October 13; 10 and 11 a.m. and 1 and 7:30 p.m. October 14. 3rd Floor, Girard Street Building, University of Houston — Downtown, 201 Girard. For information, visit Free. – Natalie de la Garza

At Hocus Pocus Pops, the Houston Symphony’s horrifying horns, bewitching bassoons and chilling cellos will play treats instead of tricks. Conductor Lucus Waldin will lead the orchestra in an evening of festive music from iconic films such as Star Wars, Spider-Man and Sleepy Hollow, featuring narration by Jimmy Phillips. Mummies and daddies, be sure to dress up all the little ghosts and goblins; the first 100 fully costumed children have a chance to march in the Goblin Parade. “Hocus Pocus Pops is an annual tradition for both the Houston Symphony and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion,” says Ashley Gravois, public relations and educational outreach manager for the Pavilion. “Every year thousands of attendees come to the show to kick off the Halloween season.” 7:30 p.m. Friday. 2005 Lake Robbins Drive. For information, call 281-364-3010 or visit Free to $20. – Sam Byrd

The Houston Italian Festival, now in its 39th year, knows not to mess with a good thing. The four-day celebration of all things Italian still boasts meatballs, Italian classes and wine tasting, but 2017 sees the addition of a new Spaghetti Western Night, featuring a Sergio Leone double feature and live country music (plus $2 off admission if you don a cowboy hat). There’s always a lot to do, but festival spokesperson Margaret Bannon encourages everyone to check out the grape stomp and pasta-eating contest, and to “do your homework so you know what you would like to do, what you would like to see and which food you would like to try!” 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and October 14; 5 to 10 p.m. October 12; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 15. Campus Life Mall, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-4222 or visit Free to $25. – Natalie de la Garza

Dress to the nines for your own red-carpet moment during this Friday’s MFAH Mixed Media, because board shorts just won’t do when you’re mixing and mingling around the fabulous sculpted dresses by Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta. DJ Sun always looks for just the right music when curating these events, but he upped his game for this one. “We try to center it around dance music to keep it energized,” says Sun. “This time I wanted to do a DJ that personified fashion and stylishness. I finally landed on Miguel Migs. He’s got great house tracks, great dance music; very stylish as well.” Sip specialty cocktails, grab a bite from the food truck and remember the moment with free snaps in the Smilebooth. Tix include admission to “The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta.” 8 p.m. to midnight Friday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For infor-mation, call 713-639-7300 or visit $22 to $25. – Susie Tommaney

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston continues to bring the best of Turkish cinema to town during the 5th Houston Turkish Film Festival. This year’s program includes Iftarlik Gazoz (61 Days), about a young boy’s hallucinations as he pedals soda under the hot sun while secretly fasting for Ramadan; Mavi Bisiklet (Blue Bicycle), about a boy facing multiple injustices while saving up for his dream bicycle; and The Turkish Way, a documentary about the three Roca brothers – owners of Restaurant Magazine’s "Best Restaurant in the World" title – on a culinary road trip across Turkey. There will also be a Centerpiece Reception on October 14 at 6 p.m. in the North Foyer of the Caroline Wiess Law Building for all of Saturday’s ticketholders. 7 p.m. Friday. 4 and 7:30 p.m. October 14; 5 and 7 p.m. October 15. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit $8 to $10. – Natalie de la Garza

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