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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Beer, Boats and The Book of Mormon

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Tuesday, January 3

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, took their relentless irreverence to Broadway and although some may have been praying for them to get their comeuppance, that didn't happen. Instead, The Book of Mormon, co-created by lyricist Robert Lopez (Tony-award winner for Avenue Q), was a hit right from the start when it opened on Broadway in 2011, making back its investors' money in just nine months. It's touring again and returning to Houston, back by popular demand and courtesy of BBVA Compass Broadway at the Hobby Center. The somewhat involved plot centers on two Mormon missionaries who've gone to a remote area of Uganda to spread the good word, only to find that their goals and those of the villagers they've come to convert are not at all the same. There's bad language throughout, so don't bring the youngest of kids; in fact, if South Park offends you, this might be one to miss. But realize that it won nine Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical and also won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. 7:30 p.m. January 3. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 7:30 p.m. January 8; 2 p.m. January 15. Through January 15. 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit houston.broadway.com. $50 to $165. — Margaret Downing

It's an uneasy time of year. We're still getting used to writing 2017 instead of 2016, we're already rethinking some of those ambitious New Year's resolutions and the stock market doesn't know how to react. Just about anything can happen between now and the 20th, when president-elect Donald Trump gets sworn into office. While events are ramping up in Washington with dinners, parades and a pair of inaugural balls, local mainstay the Rec Room is gearing up for the big day by screening 19 free flicks in the same number of days with 19 Days in January. The bar is open for business, and the organizers are trying to schedule a series of speakers to talk about important issues and current events for several of these dates. Tuesday's movie is The Black Power Mixtape, a fairly recent (2011) historical documentary, shot by a pair of Swedish journalists that covers the Black Power Movement from 1967 to 1975. They've lined up Ashton Woods from Black Lives Matter Houston as the guest. 8 p.m. January 3. Continuing 8 p.m. Sundays through Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays. January 1 through January 19. 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

As the name suggests, The Grand 1894 Opera House always goes big. The historic venue is commemorating its 122nd Birthday Open House in style with cake, refreshments and guided tours. The fête’s highlight takes place at noon, when the staff cuts the cake and sings Happy Birthday to the historic building. The opera house’s longevity is much cause for celebration. During its century-plus years, it has weathered the storm of 1900; hurricanes Carla, Alicia and Ike; and the population flight away from inland Galveston. But if any organization can take a licking and keep on ticking, it’s The Grand. “It’s a tribute and celebration of this historic theater,” says Executive Director Maureen Patton. “She’s a survivor, and we celebrate and rejoice in that, and a lot of people want to celebrate with us because it’s so special.” 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. January 3. 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, call 1-800-821-1894 or visit thegrand.com. Free. — Sam Byrd

Wednesday, January 4

Houston audiences will have their third chance in just a few months to see Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing as Main Street Theater hosts a return visit by the Prague Shakespeare Company. Acknowledging the two “very excellent productions (Houston Shakespeare Festival and 4th Wall Theatre Company) in Houston this year already,” Guy Roberts, CEO and artistic director of the company, says that its version is set in 1942 England in an underground bunker. A group of service men and women perform a radio broadcast of the play to boost the morale of Allied soldiers. “What makes our production unique is that each performance is audio-streamed live over the Internet à la an old-fashioned radio play,” Roberts says. Thirteen actors, some local and some from five other countries, make up the cast. As Beatrice and Benedick battle their way to love, watch for the “extreme German accents” of some of the characters. 7:30 p.m. January 4. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. Through January 15. Main Street Theater, 2450 Times. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $36 to $45. — Margaret Downing

Thursday, January 5

There’s no better way to kick the holiday blues than with a little jazz and some razzamatazz. “We’re known as the most fun you can have with serious music.” That’s the standard that ROCO’s artistic director, Alecia Lawyer, says her organization lives up to with its annual Beer and Brass at Saint Arnold Brewing Company. The five-piece quintet, joined by a drummer and a bassist, showcases traditional German drinking music plus jazz from the ’20s and ’30s. Charleston the night away and enjoy complimentary light bites, beer and root beer. Jazz fans can expect standards like “Stardust,” “Mood Indigo,” “Mack the Knife,” “I Love Paris,” “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate,” “The Very Thought of You” and “Sheik of Araby.” The most fun, though, happens between the sets when the musicians interact with the audience members and tell the story behind the music. 6 p.m. January 5. 2000 Lyons. For information, call 713-665-2700 or visit rocohouston.org. $35. — Sam Byrd

It's hard to believe it's been more than seven years since we lost native son and talent Patrick Swayze. Dancing was in his blood, and his big break came about when he took the role of dance instructor Johnny Castle in 1987's Dirty Dancing, netting him a Golden Globe nomination. "Nobody puts Baby in the corner," and we've got another chance to swoon to his dreamy moves and shirtless chest when Alamo Drafthouse Cinema presents Girlie Night at the Alamo. Only slumber party favorites that stand the test of time, even after repeat viewing, qualify for Girlie Night, and — as with all of Alamo's Signature Series events — themed props are included. Shake maracas (and your booty) during the mambo and cool off with your very own Swayze fan when his hotness becomes too much. It's also another chance to remember what Jennifer Grey looked like before that nose job rendered her unrecognizable. 7:30 p.m. January 5. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — Mason Park, 531 South Mason Road, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/houston. $12.99. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, January 6

Houston has always been a welcoming city for graffiti artists, but there is more to life than letters, throw-ups and tags. Empyre, one of the founders of the Insomniax Crew, says that at first it was all about graffiti and getting the group’s name out there. “We’re just an artists collective that started in 1999,” says Empyre. “It kind of evolved into street art and then fine art.” The crew has been laying down some serious color on the walls and bay doors over at the Harrisburg Arts Museum, but they also had time to expand into fine art. Come view sculptures and paintings by more than a dozen artists in the two-day exhibit, “Regulators.” Collectors and families can preview the works on Friday, then come back to fight the crowds for the 18-and-older main event on Saturday with a DJ and merch. 7 to 10 p.m. January 6, 5 to 10 p.m. January 7. East End Studio Gallery, 708-C Telephone Road. For information, visit eestudiogallery.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

This tumultuous election year has split America apart, magnifying the worst of both red and blue in a slurry of hurled insults, fake news, Russian tampering and late-night satire. Whether election day brought about feelings of euphoric triumph or wretched hangover, there’s no denying that things are moving at an incredibly fast, 140-character pace and the Cold War seems all but forgotten. More than a few shell-shocked Americans have been asking the question “How could this have happened?” and The Catastrophic Theatre’s artistic director, Jason Nodler, looks to Wallace Shawn’s The Designated Mourner for answers. “It speaks to what we have to lose as a civilization and how dangerous that is, the danger in considering an entire class of people to be enemies,” says Nodler. 8 p.m. January 6. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. January 8, 7 p.m. January 15. January 6 through January 15. 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit catastrophictheatre.com or matchouston.org. Pay what you can; suggested price is $35. — Susie Tommaney

There’s no grass growing under the 41-year-old Houston legacy the First Friday Poetry Reading series. It seems the organizers have updated this age-old art form for modern audiences, and we’ll get a look at this new genre when The Balcony Poets take the stage this Friday. It’s a mash-up of multivoiced poetry “performed” by two to five poets, musical accompaniment and a backdrop of paintings inspired by the poem, courtesy of artist/muralist Tuba Sozudogru. “Fabulous” Billie Duncan, director of The Balcony Poets, says this week’s musician is Tex Allen. “He’s a world-renowned jazz musician with the famous Allen family; his sisters are Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen.” She says Tex loves poetry and working with poets and, for this event, he’ll be playing keyboard. The whole evening lasts about 90 minutes, longer if they have a lot of sign-ups for the open mike that follows. “People love First Friday and they love [host] Robert Clark. It’s also a very nurturing place for young poets, emerging poets or even older poets who have never done anything publicly.” 8:30 p.m. January 6. Inprint House, 1520 West Main. For information, call 713-521-2026 or visit inprinthouston.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Neil Simon, the comedian and playwright behind The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park and Lost in Yonkers, has a more heart-tugging offering with Rose and Walsh, presented in Houston by Theatre Suburbia. Set at a beach house in Montauk, the ’80s dramedy follows the golden years of an ailing writer, Rose, who sees the spirit of her departed lover. “This is the biggest role Carol [Davis] has ever done, and I think she’s really gonna show the Houston theater community what she can do,” says Suzanne King, who directs. “For me, this is a play about dealing with the things that matter in life. It’s not the house or the clothes or the cars; it’s the relationships that matter. It’s family.” 8:30 p.m. January 6. Continuing 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. January 22 and 29. Through February 4. 4106 Way Out West. For information, call 713-682-3525 or visit theatresuburbia.org. $13 to $16. — Vic Shuttee

Mrs. Peacock, in the kitchen, with the wrench. Everybody's favorite childhood board game came to life in 1985 when the comedy/crime/mystery mash-up Clue made it to the big screen. But what we love best about the film is some of the trivia posts on IMDb. For example, did you know that the parquet floor in the hall is similar to the game's board, or that the color of each character's car is the same color as his or her playing piece? Even the secret passages in the movie mimic the board game: The kitchen leads to the study and the conservatory leads to the lounge. But our favorite part about this classic is that they shot and screened three different endings. Come see the all-star cast (Christopher Lloyd, Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren) when Landmark River Oaks Theatre presents back-to-back midnight movies. 11:59 p.m. January 6 and 7. 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2175 or visit landmarktheatres.com/houston/river-oaks-theatre. $7.50 to $10.50. — Susie Tommaney

Saturday, January 7

The next time you hear yourself saying — even if it’s just in your head — that you’re “different,” remember that you’re really not. “No matter how many differences we all have as humans, the one thing that connects us all is where we came from and the question ‘How did we get here?’” says Matthew Detrick, co-founder and artistic director of Apollo Chamber Players, which sonically explores three creation myths in a program titled Ex-Nihilo: Out of Nothing. The collaboration with Cantare Houston and the Houston Chamber Choir focuses on the creation stories from the Judeo-Christian, African and Australian perspectives through Josef Haydn, Darius Milhaud and Christopher Walczak, respectively. The world premiere of the Walczak piece is based on the Aboriginal Dreamtime creation story. “The overall effect and the way [Walczak] weaves Aboriginal folk melodies into the piece is remarkable,” says Detrick. 8 p.m. January 7. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org. $10 to $35. — Steve Jansen

Kids going through holiday withdrawal? Well, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Christmas falls on Saturday, so you can join Santa for one last night of singing and dancing in Russian theater group Antrepriza’s fourth annual Christmas show, Two Maple Trees. Yevgeni Schwartz’s 1953 fairy tale tells of the evil Baba Yaga, who turns a woman’s children into the titular trees. “Baba Yaga is the dark side,” laughs founder Anna Shchelokova. “[But] because of the mother’s heart, she recognizes that those two trees are her kids, her sons,” and sets out to free them — with a little help from her animal friends. Though the show is in Russian, Shchelokova says not to worry; it has been non-Russian-speaker-approved and Antrepriza consistently gets the best compliment from the world’s toughest audience: “Kids do not talk during the show,” says Shchelokova. “They just keep silent and they react.” 5 p.m. January 7. Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 South Braeswood. For information, visit playtosee.com. $15. — Natalie de la Garza

This isn’t a snipe hunt, but there’s also no guarantee you’ll actually see a Timberdoodle during the Timberdoodle Trek. The odds are ever in your favor, though, because this is the time of year when male American woodcocks (the other, less cool, name for the birds) strut their stuff, hoping to catch the eye of one of the ladies. “The males will get together in small groups, where they can display, often in a meadow — we only have one meadow — and they will make very silly noises,” says Kelsey Low, an instructor at the 155-acre Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. “They call and then they fly really high up in the sky and then flutter down in a spiral. It’s very elegant, and they make more interesting noises as they fly down.” Low says the females stay on the edges, judging which bachelor is most attractive, and then will mate with one male or a whole bunch of males. Sounds like either good fodder for reality television or a nice way to spend a Saturday morning. 7 to 9 a.m. January 7. 4501 Woodway. For information, call 713-681-8433 or visit houstonarboretum.org. $20 to $35. — Susie Tommaney

The White Album is coming, but not from John, Paul, George or Ringo. This time around it’s a new piece by American composer Mark Kilstofte, “who in four short poems [pays] homage to the Beatles, and the unifying theme is each poem features the color white in it,” says Dr. Anthony Brandt, artistic director of presenter Musiqa. “Something I say all the time is that a piece isn’t really finished until it’s had its first great performance. Whatever is written down in the score is only a blueprint,” Brandt says of the two-years-in-the-making piece, which is having its world premiere in Houston. “Our goal is to deliver a performance of such authority that when future groups would like to play this work, they use ours as the standard.” The debuting song cycle includes poetry by Erica Funkhouser, who will read from her works immediately before the premiere. 7:30 p.m. January 7. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit thehobbycenter.org. $33 to $55. — Vic Shuttee

We have become a society of zombie-like deadwalkers, navigating through life tethered to Facebook or plugged in to music, ignoring nature and our surroundings. Artist Barbara Attwell wants us to remember that there’s another way, to instead tune in to the underlying rhythms and patterns in life and art and recognize the presence of the other. “Whatever the ‘other’ is doesn’t matter: It’s personal, God, psychic energy; it’s something else going on that we don’t have a handle on,” says Attwell, adding that alienation occurs when we think we’re above nature. “It’s very delusional, and it creates a peculiar poverty of the soul in the sense that we’re removed from it.” The one-time environmentalist stalked a felter in Ireland to learn more about the 1,000-year-old technique, then brushed up on Jung’s The Red Book: Liber Novus, and is ready to take us on a mythological journey through the woods and under the water, hoping to give us the strength to move forward in our lives. In “Rewilding,” expect to see eight paintings and 20 felted sculptures, including protective bindings, vessels and seed pods. There’s an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. January 7. Open 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. January 6 through February 4. 5200 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-8253 or visit junghouston.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Opera fans are in for a treat with the latest offering in the The Met: Live in HD series. Up next is Verdi's early drama of ancient Babylon, with Plácido Domingo singing the title character Nabucco. The three-hour production is being broadcast on the big screen nationwide this Saturday, courtesy of Fathom Events, with an encore presentation on January 11. Met Music Director James Levine conducts this classic opera, which is sung in Italian with English subtitles; joining Domingo onstage are Liudmyla Monastyrska (Abigaille, Nabucco’s willful daughter), Jamie Barton (Fenena), Russell Thomas (Ismaele) and Dmitri Belosselskiy (the prophet Zaccaria). As with all of Fathom's events, the bonus comes during intermission, with behind-the-scenes interviews with cast, crew and the production teams, and an insider's look at what exactly goes into the staging of an opera. 11:55 a.m. January 7, 6:30 p.m. January 11. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for participating venues. $21.65 to $28.15. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, January 8

Part theme park, part boat show, what's being billed as the largest indoor show for outdoor sports in America is returning to NRG Center, and this one's chockablock with interactive add-ons. Sure, the 2017 Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Super Show has thousands of boats and RVs, plus a sneak peek at the brand-spanking-new Sea Ray SLXW, but we're pretty psyched about the world-famous Xpogo Stunt Team. Who knew that early proficiency on a pogo stick could turn into an extreme sport that would hop into seasons five and nine of America’s Got Talent? The 5,000-gallon Bass Tub also ranks up there, with professional angler Chuck Devereaux demonstrating techniques in the 40-foot-long aquarium with live fish. Seasoned boaters will get a kick out of the antique and classic boats in the lobby, while the kids have their choice of fun on Saturdays and Sundays: Help build a boat, help rebuild an outboard motor or help paint a boat. They can get hooked on fishing at the popular Fish-O-Rama or go all carnival with the bungee trampolines, massive slide and bumper boats. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. January 8. Other show hours are 1 to 8 p.m. January 6, 11 and 12; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. January 9 and 10; 1 to 9 p.m. January 13; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. January 14; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. January 15. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, call 713-526-6361 or visit houstonboatshows.com. Free to $12. — Susie Tommaney

When QFest screened the U.S. premiere of the coming-of-age film Don’t Call Me Son (Mãe Só Há Uma) this summer, many were captivated by the tall, dark and androgynous lead character. Now Marian Luntz, film curator for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has arranged for another Houston screening of this Brazilian film by director Anna Muylaert. “She is a very talented filmmaker who handles family dynamics in a very interesting way,” says Luntz, adding that the director’s camerawork captures “all angles and different perspectives.” She describes the main character, Pierre, a teen wrestling with gender and family identity, as both striking and sympathetic, made all the more charismatic by actor Naomi Nero. “You want [Pierre] to be happy,” says Luntz. “You’re really put in a situation of wondering, ‘How is he going to respond?' [At times] he looks like he might explode.” And, says Luntz, “he is attractive to look at.” In Portuguese with English subtitles. 7 p.m. January 7, 5 p.m. January 8. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. — Katricia Lang

The Houston Symphony is known for its larger-than-life performances that take music to new heights. In this case, though, the organization took a literal interpretation of that phrase by welcoming the acrobatic group Cirque de la Symphony for Cirque Goes to the Movies. Imagine jugglers, contortionists, strongmen, aerial straps performers, a balance and dance duo, ribbon dancers, an aerial duo on silk fabrics and the unforgettable strongmen, all set to the most memorable movies of the last century. The performers will stun crowds against a backdrop of famous films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, West Side Story, Titanic, Chariots of Fire and Star Wars. Performer Alexander Streltsov says, “Our program includes carefully selected music choices from the most memorable movies ever shown at the cinema,” guaranteeing a feast for both the eyes and the ears. 8 p.m. January 6 and 7, 2:30 p.m. January 8. Houston Symphony, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $145. — Sam Byrd

Monday, January 9

If travel isn’t on this year’s bucket list, then the whimsical drawings of Shirl Riccetti just might suffice. The avid sketcher travels extensively — “every year I try to get to Europe” — and works inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of those trips are on display in “In A Good Place.” There’s a vignette from Italy in which the villagers close up shop, though she has seen the same ritual in northern Spain and also Hungary. “[They] close the street itself for people to stroll [arm in arm], and they dress up in their Sunday finery,” says Riccetti. She says the ink and watercolor drawings, which she labels “visual stories,” are lighthearted and she always tries to insert humor. There’s an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. January 7. Continuing 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. January 7 through February 2. Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy. For information, call 713-522-2409 or visit archwaygallery.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

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