21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: A Musical Trick-or-Treat and a Haunted Wedding

October 24
Día de Los Muertos may be something of a selling point for mainstream craft shops and Walmart nowadays, but to people of Mexican heritage, its deeper meaning remains. “It’s a time of honor and respect and love; there are personal mementos, there are personal memories and it’s a time to celebrate people’s ancestors and the light that they had,” says Chrissie Ramirez, who through her gallery and store, Casa Ramirez, has been celebrating the Day of the Dead in Houston for more than two decades. Everyone is invited to The Altar Exhibit for Día de Los Muertos. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Continuing 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. October 19 through November 10. Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, 241 West 19th. For information, call 713-880-2420 or visit facebook.com/Casa-Ramirez-FOLKART-Gallery-76060185584. Free. – Camilo Hannibal Smith

October 25
We can’t get enough of the spooky, eerie silos over at Sawyer Yards, with their honeycomb of towers, moody lighting and echoing sound. It’s also the perfect space for “Tensile Strength,” a gizmo-heavy exhibit with local heavy hitters (Patrick Renner, Tommy Gregory, Joe Havel) and a few out-of-town superstars. “There is an art star from Austin coming in, Laurie Frick; she is a data artist,” says Volker Eisele, owner and director of Rudolph Blume Fine Art/Artscan Gallery, about the data-driven artist. Sculpture Month Houston is a two-for-one this year, with Eisele organizing the “dark, somber and somewhat ponderous” show at SITE Gallery and a more lighthearted show at Artscan titled “SNARE,” with a talking fish, an alien flower garden and a monster under the stairs. Don’t miss the opener from 6 to 9 p.m. October 21 at SITE Houston, then come back to fully appreciate the visual and auditory experience. Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday. Also noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, SITE Gallery Houston, 1502 Sawyer. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, Artscan Gallery, 1836 Richmond. October 21 through December 2. For information, call 713-807-1836 or visit sculpturemonthhouston.org. Free. – Susie Tommaney

October 26
With murder and macabre on the mind, amateur and professional filmmakers dabbled in themes of cannibalism, psychological horror, asylums and more, but it was only for one weekend and all for the sake of art. An offshoot of the popular 48 Hour Film Project, the inaugural 48 Hour Film Horror Project challenged teams with a genre (or two), character (Jason or Jacinda Calmes, a know-it-all), prop (umbrella) and dialogue. “They had to incorporate either ‘Wait, that doesn’t look right’ or ‘Well, that doesn’t look right,’” says Laura Schlecht, who co-produced the event along with Kris Thompson. “We released at 7 p.m. Friday and the films were due back by 7:30 p.m. Sunday. ‘Sleep is for the weak’ is one of our catchphrases,” says Schlecht. All 19 of the shorts are premiering at Talento Bilingüe de Houston, with several of the teams expected to be in attendance. 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday. 333 South Jensen. For information, call 713-222-1213 or visit 48hourfilm.com/houston/horror/premiere. $15. – Susie Tommaney

The time is now, or just a bit beyond. An apocalyptic pandemic has claimed many lives. As a means of entertaining themselves, a small group of survivors — still trying to figure out where “safe” is — begins recalling an episode of The Simpsons called “Cape Feare.” The first act of Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play is a straight play with a straightforward story to tell, says Obsidian Theater’s Tom Stell, who will be directing his company’s production of the 2012 work by playwright Anne Washburn. Act 2 morphs into something else; it’s seven years later and the survivors have become a musical theater troupe, acting out works from the beloved animated series. “The third act is set 75 years in the future. The Simpsons have become like Shakespeare. They’re not really the Simpsons anymore,” Stell says. If that sounds all a bit too weird for you, know that Ben Brantley of The New York Times called the play “downright brilliant.” 8 p.m. Thursday. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. November 12 and 8 p.m. November 6 (Industry Night). October 26 through November 18. Obsidian Theater, 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-889-7837 or visit obsidiantheater.org. $20 to $30. – Margaret Downing

ROCO offers a new take on an October tradition with its inaugural Musical Trick-or-Treat, where instead of candy being the reward at the door, it’s a musical performance. Audience members will travel in groups to four different historic Heritage Society homes. At each stop, they will hear a short piece of music performed by a single musician. Expect to hear the beautiful sounds of the clarinet, cello, harp and percussion instruments emanating from the houses, which include the Staiti House, a speculative home purchased by oilman Henry T. Staiti in 1905, and the 1891 St. John Church, which was built by German and Swiss farmers for their Lutheran congregation. Join fellow concert-goers for a pre-concert reception with complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m. and then, at 6:30 p.m., set off with a group for the concert tour. 6 p.m. Thursday. 1100 Bagby. For information, call 713-665-2700 or rocohouston.org. $45. – Natalie de la Garza

Priya Bannerji wakes up dead. The Bengali-British housewife and mother can’t believe it at first, but once she’s convinced, she persuades her spirit guide – in the form of real-life Bollywood movie star Dilip Kumar, of course – to let her have three days to return to Earth to tie up loose ends (and spy on her family) before moving on to the “waiting room,” where she’ll await reincarnation. After a month-long hurricane-related delay, Shunya Theatre will present Tanika Gupta’s The Waiting Room, which premiered at London’s Royal National Theatre in 2000 and won the John Whiting Award. Bree Bridger, who has directed productions around town including for Mildred’s Umbrella and Firecracker Productions, will make her Shunya directorial debut with this touching comedy. 8 p.m. Thursday. Also 8 p.m. October 27 and 29; 3 and 8 p.m. October 28. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit shunyatheatre.org or matchouston.org. $20. – Natalie de la Garza

October 27
The Houston Ballet is presenting Poetry in Motion, a mixed-repertory outing that includes Christopher Wheeldon’s (2002) with music by Rodgers & Hammerstein II. Principal Sara Webb will reprise roles she’s danced before, as “the girl” in and the first-movement principal role in George Balanchine’s (1947) with music by Bizet. “Christopher Wheeldon took the best part of [], the part at the carnival where they fall in love. It’s just fun and happy,” she says. As for , she says, “It’s typical Balanchine. It’s very beautiful; the patterns are very musical. It’s very grand. It will be the final piece on the program showcasing the entire company.” Audiences will also have a look at the Houston Ballet premiere of Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s (1998) with music by Mozart which was commissioned for the Birmingham Royal Ballet. 7:30 p.m. Friday and October 26. Hobby Center For the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $35 to $135. – Margaret Downing

One of the most frequently performed baroque operas, Handel’s Julius Caesar, has been reset as a movie being shot in the 1930s, with costumes to match, in Houston Grand Opera’s second offering of the 2017-18 season. Mezzo soprano Stephanie Blythe is back singing the Cornelia role, which she last performed here in 2002. “The idea is that the opera is taking place on a giant sound stage and we are the actors who are portraying these people,” says Blythe, who as Cornelia comes (unfortunately a bit too late) to plead for her husband, Pompeo’s, life. Meanwhile Caesar (Anthony Roth Costanzo) and Cleopatra (Heidi Stober) are getting to know one another; the intrigue, revenge motifs and love that follow are, of course, epic in nature. This isn’t Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, so don’t expect an et-tu-brute moment. Think more of triumphal marches cast as the triumph of good over evil. Handel’s music is high-pitched and memorable and there’s a lot of it in this 3-1/2 hour production with one intermission. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Continuing 7:30 p.m. November 4, 8 and 10; 2 p.m. October 29. October 27 through November 10. Resilience Hall at George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. Sung in Italian with English projections. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $18 to $325. – Margaret Downing

If you’re looking for something that’s a western and a love story, with vampires and the cast of Aliens, there’s only one film for you – Near Dark, screening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in time for Halloween. Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 debut, about an Oklahoma farm boy who falls for the wrong drifter, has gained a cult following since its release because of its unique spin on an old legend. “It’s got action, it’s got blood and guts, but it doesn’t have the normal trappings of the usual vampire stuff like fangs or black capes, holy water, garlic or any of that,” says Tracy Stephenson, film coordinator and assistant programmer at the MFAH. “It’s just a side issue that they’re vampires. They’re just a roaming band of nomads and tough guys.” 7 p.m. Friday and October 28. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. – Natalie de la Garza

Sidney Bruhl, the writer at the center of Ira Levin’s 1978 play Deathtrap, hasn’t had a hit in almost 20 years when Deathtrap (the play within the play) shows up at his door. Written by a college student, Sidney sees (and seizes) the opportunity to offer the student, Clifford, the chance to collaborate with him, so long as he brings with him all copies of the play and all his notes. Yes, Sidney has an ulterior motive – his wife, Myra, picks up on it too – but things are far from what they seem, the twists and turns coming hard and fast, in this whodunit from Levin, the author of many popular novels including Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives and A Kiss Before Dying. 8 p.m. Friday. Continuing 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. November 5. October 27 through November 18. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit theatresouthwest.org. $17 to $19. – Natalie de la Garza

The second most famous ape-man (after Bigfoot, of course) is the Yeti, a mysterious cryptid that can be traced back to a pre-Buddhist East Asia, but that you may also know by the name he picked up in 1921: the “Abominable Snowman.” 14 Pews will screen The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, a 1957 Hammer horror film (one of their first starring Peter Cushing), with Dr. Frank Dello Stritto, an author who will use the film and his deep knowledge of classic horror cinema to lead a discussion into film’s ambivalent relationship with the theory of evolution during Darwin Goes Hollywood. Dello Stritto will also be around before and after the presentation to sign copies of his books. 7 p.m. Friday. 800 Aurora. For information, call 281-888-9677 or visit 14pews.org. $10 to $11. – Natalie de la Garza

You are cordially invited to The Wilde Collection's "Till Death Do Us Part" Halloween Masquerade at Rockefellers this Saturday night.EXPAND
You are cordially invited to The Wilde Collection's "Till Death Do Us Part" Halloween Masquerade at Rockefellers this Saturday night.
Photo by Lawyer B. Douglas II

October 28
Our departed loved ones live on in our hearts and minds, but the spiritual lines of communication open up even more during one magical day each year. “Incense is used to take our prayers and our wishes up to heaven and ask permission for those spirits to be allowed to come down and visit us,” says Macario Ramirez, who owns Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery along with his wife Chrissie. “November 1 is for children and November 2 is for adults.” To pave the way, Ramirez has organized a Día de los Muertos Procession and Altar Exhibit with the aforementioned incense plus Aztec dancers, drums, and music by BOSSA II and Jesus and Maria Lozano. Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl begins performing at 4 p.m., followed by the procession and a reception at the store with those yummy (sugar cookies) and viewing of his personal altar (with his father’s favorite foods) and a community altar. “Does that connect you with the spirit of your loved ones? You’re darned right. It’s kind of a closure of sorts,” says Ramirez. “It’s my service. My responsibility to share what we do.” 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. 241 West 19th. For information, call 713-880-2420 or visit facebook.com/Casa-Ramirez-FOLKART-Gallery-76060185584. Free. – Susie Tommaney

Comic-book fans view Halloween the way a kid views a stack of presents underneath the tree on Christmas morning. All the rules are lifted for this one sacred day, and avid readers get free rein to dress up like their favorite superhero – or villain – as they live their cartoon fantasy. Comic stores from across Houston will take part in the annual celebration with ComicFest, offering free titles to all who enter their doors. Even more, fans will have a nerd-gasm. The popular Netflix series is the official title sponsor, and producers will bring in-store activations and branded merchandise. They will join other graphics pioneers like Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics and Marvel Comics. Saturday. For a list of participating local vendors, visit halloweencomicfest.com. – Sam Byrd

When local artist and radio programmer Ayn Morgan died in a car crash two years ago, she left a hole in the arts community. If there’s one thing the folks at Texas Art Asylum want you to remember about her death, it’s that we’re all going to go through it. The theme of their newest art show is inspired by Morgan and reaches back to a time during the 17th century, when death was closer and right around the corner for everyone. “Death was a lot more a part of people’s every day. What we encouraged people to do was mimic the meaning of ‘Remember you’ll die,’” says show curator Ramona Brady. "Remember You Will Die – A Memento Mori Show" features artist submissions from around Houston. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Also 1 to 5 p.m. October 29. 1719 Live Oak, Unit L. For information call 713-224-5220 visit texasartasylum.com. Free. – Camilo Hannibal Smith

It’s customary to dress in character for the Texas Renaissance Festival, but All Hallow’s Eve is your chance to go over the top. Little goblins can enjoy trick-or-treating throughout the village, while the very bravest may dare to take a trip into the terrors inside Slayer’s Castle. Be sure to enter the Halloween costume contest or the Kettle Korn-eating contest for a chance to win spook-tacular prizes. “You won’t stick out if you don’t dress up,” says RenFest spokesperson Travis Bryant. “You won’t stick out if you did. The reason the festival has been so successful is we have a lot to offer for a lot of different people.” 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and October 29. 21778 FM 1774. For information, visit texrenfest.com. Free to $30. – Sam Byrd

Stepping into Rockefeller Hall, adorned in antique wedding colors with dead dried flowers and spiderwebs, for the “Till Death Do Us Part” Halloween Masquerade will be like stepping into the past. “The theme is not a wedding; it’s specifically a haunted wedding,” explains Lawyer Douglas II, co-owner of presenter The Wilde Collection. “It would be like if a long time ago a wedding was supposed to take place at the Rockefeller, and for some reason it never [did].” But two weddings will take place prior to the party; The Wilde Collection held a sweepstakes for a free themed wedding, and two lucky (if macabre) couples won, meaning revelers will double as guests at their reception. 9 p.m. Saturday. 3620 Washington. For information, call 713-931-1904 or visit eventbee.com/v/wildecollection2017. $75. – Natalie de la Garza

Forget Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Forty-year veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky just might rival Bacon for most Hollywood connections. The Dallas native discovered acting while at SMU and has never looked back, notching his belt with blockbusters like Groundhog Day, Thelma & Louise and television’s The Mindy Project. Tobolowsky will be discussing his new book, My Adventures with God, during the opening night of the 45th Annual Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival. “He’s known for his storytelling abilities,” says Marilyn Hassid, assistant executive director at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, referring to his popular podcast, The Tobolowsky Files. The festival continues through November 12 with a live concert, theater performances, films, an art exhibit, culinary events and appearances by more than 20 authors. 8 p.m. Saturday. 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-729- 3200 or visit erjcchouston.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Experience a blast from the past when The Manhattan Dolls swing by the 1940 Air Terminal Museum for a USO-style stop – just like those of Andrews Sisters when they made their morale-boosting visits to military bases during World War II. The retro vocal trio will finally make their return to Houston to sing hits from the ‘30s and ‘40s like “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “(I’ll See You) In Apple Blossom Time” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and to honor veterans in particularly powerful moment in the show, all in the hangar of an authentic 1940 art deco building. All proceeds from the concert will go toward repairing the damage to the museum caused by Hurricane Harvey. 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. 8325 Travelair. For information, call 713-454-1940 or visit 1940airterminal.org. $30 to $40. – Natalie de la Garza

October 29
Sergei Prokofiev was a product of his surroundings. In the war-torn Soviet Union, he composed music to express his feelings. But not all was for loss – out of this depression came his masterful “Symphony No. 5,” the centerpiece of the Houston Symphony’s Beethoven & Prokofiev weekend. Instead of the agony of chaos, Prokofiev’s piece captures the greatness held within the human spirit and the overall good nature of mankind. Under guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, the Grammy-winning music director of the Seattle Symphony, the orchestra will also present Messiaen’s “The Forgotten Offerings” and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, featuring Jonathan Biss at the ivories. 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Also 8 p.m. October 26 and 27. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $23 to $120. – Sam Byrd

“This is not about Halloween,” says MECA founder and executive director Alice Valdez of the group's Día De Los Muertos Festival. “It’s about giving honor to our ancestors. Our title is ‘Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Future,’ so it really fits with the holiday.” Valdez says because Day of the Dead traditions vary across Latin America, many cultures are represented in MECA’s two-day celebration. Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl opens the festivities with a blessing; from there festival-goers can enjoy an exhibition (a collection of altars honoring those who have passed away); a children’s area and community health fair; plenty of food, from tacos and funnel cake to turkey legs; and live performances across two stages. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and October 28. 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-802-9370 or visit meca-houston.org. Free. – Natalie de la Garza

October 30
To conclude its October Alfred Hitchcock series, Axelrad, the Midtown open-air bar and Monday movie haven, will offer drinks, atmosphere and Psycho, the master’s 1960 film that birthed a genre. “This just might be the Halloween movie,” says Axelrad general manager Elisa Capers. “One of the owners wanted to do a Hitchcock movie series, so we all picked out our favorites and is really the cream of the crop, and something very spooky and scary to go along with our haunted house.” The flick starts at sundown, so pop a squat on one of Axelrad’s massive multi-person bean-bag chairs and maybe, Capers teases, enjoy a horror-themed drink. 8 p.m. Monday. 1517 Alabama. For more information call 713-597-8800 or visit axelradbeergarden.com. Free. – Vic Shuttee

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