21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: David Spade and Houston Fringe Festival

David Spade, the king of satire, brings his witty humor to Houston Improv for two nights only this Wednesday and Thursday.EXPAND
David Spade, the king of satire, brings his witty humor to Houston Improv for two nights only this Wednesday and Thursday.
Photo courtesy of Kim Archie
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Note: In light of the total disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding, any relevant cancellations or postponements have been noted below.

Tuesday, September 5

Houston Fringe Festival is our annual celebration of art meets alt, capping off with its signature closing night Anything Goes showcase of ten-minute-or-less works. But our eyes are on the anything-is-possible opening night, a double-header featuring a dance for film by Daniela Antelo and Brenda Cruz-Wolf titled Better on the Outside (imagine a set made with 90-yard pieces of fabric) and Remembering the Missing. Lori Yuill conceived and directed this latter piece on exploration of memory and sensation performed by jhon r. stronks, Miranda Tadlock, Yuill and Antelo. “I just moved around so much over the past 15 to 20 years and just recognized the holes left by people and places,” says Yuill. “I started this as a way of investigating those holes.” Due to weather-related cancellations, please check the website for updates. 8:30 p.m. September 5 and 3:30 p.m. September 10. The Houston Fringe Festival continues September 5-10. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org or houstonfringefestival.org. $10 to $90. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, September 6

Journalism schools might want to re-think their coursework on developing an on-screen persona. Comic brat extraordinaire David Spade has gotten some traction of late reading newspapers and commenting on broadcasts, though his deadpan recitations are delivered with snide, off-the-cuff remarks. Spade has almost 750,000 followers on Facebook and is still riding the wave of critical acclaim from 2015 memoir Almost Interesting, chronicling his rise to break-out stardom on Saturday Night Live with first-person anecdotes and behind-the-scenes bits. With three films in the can before the year is out (Mad Families, Sandy Wexler and Warning Shot), his career is still on an upward trajectory, which means we should bow to his satirical holiness when he takes the stage for a two-night run at Houston Improv. 8 p.m. September 6-7. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $45 to $55. — Susie Tommaney

As Estevan Azcona and Pin Lim have combed through some 2,500 historical photos from Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, also known as the arts education-focused cultural center MECA, one aspect especially stood out. “MECA has been a stalwart of the community. People are still as passionate today. It has never waned,” says Lim, who is putting together the exhibition MECA: 40 Years: In Photos. The show, which includes an assist from Azcona, MECA arts and residency director and music director, will feature 40 photos from four decades, ranging from official images for the center’s programs and activities to photographer Lim’s own shots of the organization from the past few years. There's an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. September 8. Noon to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. September 1 through 29. 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-802-9370 or visit meca-houston.org. Free. — Steve Jansen

Thursday, September 7

Note: this show has been postponed until September 21 but extended through October 7. What would you do if you won $337 million? Cassie and Kurt, the middle-aged couple who hit the jackpot in David L. Williams’s The Winners, hire an escort, but their night of fantasy fulfillment quickly takes a dark turn. Director Lindsay Boyd says though the play is a warning against letting money go to your head, it’s also commentary on people’s tendency to be blinded by insignificant things, which allows them to treat others poorly. “I want people to leave feeling like this is something that exists, this is a problem that exists that people aren’t paying attention to, that people just let slide because they’re Southern, or they’re white, or that’s just how they were raised.” 8 p.m. September 7. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and September 11; 3 p.m. September 17. September 7 through September 23. Beacon Theatre, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 281-972-5897 or visit conemanrunning.com. $20. — Natalie de la Garza

Architect-turned-transformational artist Gabriel de la Mora is big on looking at everyday objects — the fabric from radio speakers, the soles of shoes, matchbox edges and eggshells — and reimagining them as meticulously arranged paintings and sculptures. This is the fourth time the Mexican artist has shown at Houston's Sicardi Gallery and, this time around, it looks like de la Mora locked himself inside a science lab for weeks on end to create the icy-cool pieces fashioned from microscope coverslips. Both simple and elegant, the wall-hung objects in "Crystals of Inevidence" pair nicely with the concurrent exhibit, "Breather," a series of geometric oils by John Sparagana, chair of the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Rice University. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. September 7 through October 19. Sicardi Gallery, 1506 West Alabama. For information, call 713-529-1313 or visit sicardi.com. Free — Susie Tommaney

Has it already been 12 years? One of our favorite neighborhood haunts in Midtown, Pub Fiction, is doing it up right for its Anniversary Bash. We're talking two hours of free appetizers starting at 5 p.m., a double-dare-ya wing-eating contest at 6:30 p.m., and front-row seats to the NFL opener on the television screens. As soon as the fourth quarter ends and the end zone dance winds down, the Houston Press concert series takes the stage with Max Stalling and DJ Qwest. Drink specials, good times and a chance to get out of the house and count our blessings — who could ask for anything more? 3 p.m. to midnight September 7. 2303 Smith. For information, call 713-400-8400 or visit pubfiction.com. No cover. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, September 8

Winner of the 2013 Pulitizer Prize for Drama, Disgraced, by Ayad Akhtar, tells the story of Amir Kapoor, a successful Pakistani-American corporate lawyer whose world is turned upside down when a dinner party forces him to re-evaluate the Muslim faith that he has so determinedly moved away from. Actor Gopal Divan plays the Amir role in the one-act season opener for the 4th Wall Theatre Company, and calls the role one of the most complex and diverse characters he’s ever seen written for a South Asian actor. “I’m not someone who’s Muslim. I wasn’t born a Muslim, but I keep playing these Muslim characters.” His character buys into the American Dream. “It’s that conflict between letting go of one identity, one sense of belonging, to belong to something else. He’s definitely veering toward the end of the spectrum for the American Dream, but certainly he’s still connected to his identity of being a Muslim, a devout Muslim at some deep-rooted level. That struggle between belonging and not fully knowing where he belongs made it very exciting.” 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through September 30. Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com. $32 general admission, $26 seniors, $17 students, $53 premiere and pay what you can on Monday, September 25. — Margaret Downing

We still can’t get enough of Prince, so River Oaks Theatre is bringing him back for one of its ever-popular midnight showings with Purple Rain. Released in 1984, the semi-autobiographical musical drama follows “The Kid” as he is torn between romance and his love for music and his rocky home life. The movie won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score — the last time the award was given — and forever left an imprint on a generation of adoring fans. The film includes many of Prince’s most memorable hits from a 30-plus-year career full of them: “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” “Darling Nikki,” “Baby I’m a Star,” “I Would Die 4 U” and the epic title track. 11:59 p.m. September 8. River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2175 or visit landmarktheatres.com/houston. $8 to $11. — Sam Byrd

Extroverted photographer Genevieve Gaignard is not afraid to strike a pose, but the Los Angeles-based performance artist takes it a step further, turning familiar iconography into uncomfortable vignettes through costumes, props and a heaping load of attitude. In one large-format print, she is a halo-adorned goddess of the bubble bath, in another she channels her inner Joan Crawford and there she stands in a third scene, wearing lavender slacks against a purple house and holding onto an enormous bin of cheese balls as she stares back at the viewer. "In Passing" is Gaignard's first solo exhibit outside California and it's paired with a best-of-the-best juried show titled "Learning Curve 10," featuring provocative works by the talented students at Houston Center for Photography. There's an opening reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. September 8, with an artist talk at 6 p.m. Continuing 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. September 8 through October 22. For information, call 713-529-4755 or visit hcponline.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Does the thought of board games make your eyes roll, or does it make you jump up and down with joy and excitement? If it's the latter, then head on over to Saint Arnold Brewing Company for Board Game Night, hosted by Tea & Victory, a board game cafe that's soon headed to H-Town. We're talking hundreds of board games and hopefully several Euro games like Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Carcassonne and Power Grid; basically anything with a designer name and lots of meeples and wooden bits. Grab a cold one from the bar and enjoy the company of friends both old and new. 5 to 10 p.m. September 8. 2000 Lyons. For information, visit teaandvictory.com or saintarnold.com. No cover. — Susie Tommaney

Note: This event has been postponed to October. A new date should be announced soon. The cream will rise to the top, and Houston's best storyteller is about to be crowned in the ultimate battle of wits and words. For ten grueling rounds of StorySLAM we've witnessed dramatic storytelling — sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking — and now the winners from those ten rounds are competing for the title of GrandSLAM Champion with a brand new story in the Houston Moth GrandSLAM III. Come hear these champs tell heart-stopping stories about taking chances, whether they aimed for the moon or crashed and burned. 7:30 p.m. September 8. University of Houston, Cullen Performance Hall. 4300 University. For information, visit themoth.org/events/out-on-a-limb-1. $18 to $25. — Susie Tommaney

Houston Fringe Festival is coming to a close, but not before the closing night's Anything Goes, with each performance clocking in at ten minutes or less.
Houston Fringe Festival is coming to a close, but not before the closing night's Anything Goes, with each performance clocking in at ten minutes or less.
Photo courtesy of Pin Lim

Saturday, September 9

Aperio, Music of the Americas is a Houston-based ensemble that presents unique chamber performances in an effort to showcase a variety of composers from both North and South America. This month, the ensemble is dedicating a performance to famed composer Philip Glass, widely regarded as among the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Saturday, Aperio presents the North American premiere of Glass’s Águas da Amazônia, which is inspired by the Amazon River and its tributaries and explores both orchestral and percussive textures in Glass’s style. “Philip Glass is, without a doubt, one of the most revered and influential living American composers. This marks his 80th birthday,” says Michael Zuraw, founder of Aperio. “The music on the program is absolutely exuberant, so it is very fitting as a celebration of his life in music.” 8 p.m. September 9. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby, Suite 300. For information, call 713-315-2400 or visit thehobbycenter.org. $30 to $60. — Clint Hale

We think Robert Saucedo must have a Magic 8-Ball or a Ouija board stowed away in his offices over at Alamo Drafthouse - Mason Park. How else could the programming director have been so prescient to lay out this four-in-one cinematic tour of the worst possible futures in The Future Sucks - A Mystery Movie Marathon. He might have a had a little help from Alan Cerny (Coming Soon), but get ready for the new apocalypse with death, famine, pestilence and war. Go ahead and grab some munchies during intermission, but be quick about it because they're teaching post-apocalypse survival skills between films. Do they offer scouting badges for that yet? 4 p.m. September 9. 531 South Mason, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/houston. $16.24. — Susie Tommaney

Note: Color The Ave has been canceled due to Harvey relief efforts. After days and weeks of drab brown water, and way too much of it, we could all use a break. The colorful streamer sculptures created by Sunny Sliger and Marianne Newsom over at Avenida Houston and Discovery Green seem like the perfect setting for an afternoon/evening of performance art. Color The Ave kicks off with Color Remix, performed by the artists of Karen Stokes Dance with musical accompaniment by Terrence Karn. The program includes interactive dance performances, more music, a wearable art workshop and the grand finale: a spectacular, gravity-defying aerial performance by VauLT on the vertical walls of George R. Brown Convention Center. All the world's a stage, and now our convention center is, too. 4 to 8 p.m. September 9. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-400-7336 or visit discoverygreen.com. Free — Susie Tommaney

It's sort of like a scavenger hunt with a triple-win at the end. Second Saturdays are always a blast at Sawyer Yards, but this time around the artists are joining together en masse to help the flood victims of Hurricane Harvey. Look for the signs on the studio doors that say "Sawyer Yards for Houston" and you'll know that ten percent of your purchase will benefit victims, with each artist selecting his/her charity of choice. So you'll be walking home with a super cool painting, sculpture, piece of jewelry, photograph, fashion or mixed media; the artist will be able to eat tonight; and one of our neighbors in need will be that much closer to recovery. They're also accepting donations of bottled water, personal hygiene products and pet supplies for Barrio Dogs, Inc. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. The Silos on Sawyer, 1502 Sawyer; Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring (open 'til 7 p.m.); Silver Street, 2000 Edwards; Summer Street Studios, 2204 Summer; and Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter. For information, call 713-862-0082 or visit sawyeryards.com. No cover. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, September 10

Stand-up, podcaster and television host Nikki Glaser is bringing her no-holds-barred comedy styling to Houston Improv for a three-night run sure to be full of frank discussions of sex, love and pop culture. The master of ceremonies for Comedy Central’s Not Safe, MTV’s Nikki & Sara Live and two seasons of NBC’s Last Comic Standing is developing a new act after the critically acclaimed release of her debut hourlong special, Nikki Glaser: Perfect. Before catching her at the club, podcast listeners can get their fill of the comedian with her various series, including interview program You Had to Be There with writer Sara Schaefer; relationship-advice show We Know Nothing with Phil Hanley and Anya Marina; and her self-titled companion podcast with Dan St. Germain and Brian Frange. 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. September 8, 7 and 9:30 p.m. September 9, 7:30 p.m. September 10. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.org. $25 to $35. — Vic Shuttee

Anything Goes is like a box of chocolates; we know there are a dozen ten-minute-or-less performances that evening, but we won't be able to peel back the wrapper to reveal what's inside until showtime. We've learned a few tidbits: Suchu Dance's Jennifer Wood gives us a soupçon from Ocean; jhon r. stronks riffs on Disney to give us three fairy "gawdmothers" in a jazz-dance-disco concoction; Tehillah Hartmann does a duet with a life-sized skeleton (for reals); and Margot Stutts Toombs aims to make us smile with a combo meditation workshop/video screening. Anything Goes also marks the closing night for this year's Houston Fringe Festival, a bittersweet end to a week of triumph and tribulation. With weather conditions being less than optimal the organizers have been scrambling behind-the-scenes with schedule adjustments. A portion of the ticket sales from this evening will benefit the Red Cross and their efforts at disaster relief. 8 p.m. September 10. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org or houstonfringefestival.org. $10 to $90. — Susie Tommaney

Congratulations, Detroit. In 1987, Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop cemented it as the most violent city in the world, an honor the Motor City resented for decades until its powers that be realized they may as well erect a statue of Peter Weller and milk the tourism. Now, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cyborg law and the 25th anniversary of the SyFy network, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema presents the SYFY25 Screening Series: RoboCop Movie Party with Livestream Q&A. Here's a fun fact: Several scenes from the flick were filmed in Irving and Dallas (go, Texas) and the livestream is being broadcast from Dallas's City Hall, which served as the Orwellian OCP Headquarters. So if you're in the mood for ultra-violence, Verhoeven style, and you prefer the original over 2014's Tehran-based, PG-13 version by José Padilha, then buy your tickets now...you have 15 seconds to comply. As for the Q&A, Peter Weller himself will be answering questions on the big screen, and you'll want to grab some special props at the door to interact with the film. 8:30 p.m. September 10. 531 South Mason, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/houston. $12.99. — Amy Nicholson and Susie Tommaney

Masters of percussion Space City Performing Arts (Zach Gutierrez, Jacob Gutierrez) are kicking off a new season, aptly titled Modern Voices. First up at bat is The Kraken Quartet, an Austin-based percussion group that blends math-rock, electronica and avant-garde to create a high-energy sound. Stop by one of our favorite downtown performance spaces and give them a listen and, if you find yourself tapping your toes, pick up their debut album, Separate | Migrate. The afternoon show is more of a Q&A with a performance session, and the evening show is a full performance. 2 and 6 p.m. September 10. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomarts.org. $15. — Susie Tommaney

Whether you're new to Houston or a seventh-gen Texan, it's always fun to learn more about the history of the Bayou City. Come dig deeper into our region's history with the Houston Archives Bazaar 2017, hosted by local archivists. Got a story? Record your own oral history. Learn about preserving family photographs and documents, and dig deeper into the amazing history of Olivewood Cemetery, the resting place for many freed slaves and some of our region's earliest black residents. Representatives from private, public, university and museum libraries will be on hand with the 411 on all things Texas. Grab a snack from Boombox Taco or Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream Company and end this day just a bit smarter than when you woke up. 2 to 6 p.m. September 10. White Oak Music Hall, 2915 North Main. For information, visit houstonarchivists.org/bazaar. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Monday, September 11

Retired Houston attorney Barbara Radnofsky has decades of legal and political experience under her belt, but she’s quick to admit that even she didn’t have a clear understanding of impeachment — despite being a political-science student during Nixon’s pre-impeachment proceedings and a partner at Vinson & Elkins during Clinton’s. While researching her book, A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment, which Mayor Sylvester Turner will introduce at Brazos Bookstore, Radnofsky discovered that misinformation colors our understanding of the process and what an impeachable offense is, which is, simply, an act or omission by a public official that causes harm to society. “What I’m hoping to do is explain what the grounds are so folks can make their own decision,” says Radnofsky. “They can decide whether something causes harm to society. Who’s better than the citizens of America to decide?” 7 p.m. September 11. 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. — Natalie de la Garza

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