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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Big Cats, Who Dat & the Aluminum Show

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Tuesday, October 25

Award-winning conservation photographer Steve Winter kicks off a new lecture series with the Houston Symphony. This time the musicians are taking a break, allowing the photographers and their images to take center stage. Winter will tell stories of his time in the trenches. (His biography references being "attacked by rhinos in India, stalked by jaguars in Brazil, charged by an 11-foot grizzly in Siberia, and trapped in quicksand" in a Myanmar tiger reserve.) Those attending On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars & Snow Leopards might even recognize an image or two; his 2007 photograph of a snow leopard in Indian mountains has been loaded onto every Apple computer produced since 2015. 7:30 p.m. October 25. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $15 to $65. —Susie Tommaney

It’s a classic work that was definitely on Broadway veteran Felicia Finley’s bucket list, so she jumped at the opportunity to be part of the upcoming Theatre Under The Stars production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. She plays Hedy LaRue, mistress to the boss, J.B. Biggley, and new secretary in the offices of the World Wide Wicket Company. Based on a 1952 book, the musical first opened in 1961 and pinpoints a time when “The women are all secretaries and the men are all in the offices,” Finley says. It’s the story of a lowly window washer who reads a book that describes (as it turns out) successful get-ahead strategies that enable him to climb the company ladder. One-liners abound and are dealt out as fast as his upward scramble as he flits (like a bird) from job to job. Despite some of the dated concepts, Finley promises plenty of hilarity. “It has a swagger to it; it’s savvy.” 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. October 25 through November 6. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $38.50 to $125. —Margaret Downing

We've seen his logically cool take as Spock; we've watched him think circles around his colleagues in Sherlock. Now see Benedict Cumberbatch as the bewildered Creature, cast out into a hostile world by his creator Victor Frankenstein (Jonny Lee Miller). Presented by National Theatre Live with BY Experience and Fathom Events, view a taped broadcast of Frankenstein on the big screen; it was a sell-out when it hit the London stage in 2011. Directed by Academy Award®-winner Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs), this is a one-night-only opportunity to view this darkly disturbing tale with world-class actors. 7 p.m. October 25. Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 & IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for participating venues. $19.49. —Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, October 26

“It was literally a perfect storm of all that is broken about the criminal justice system,” says attorney Brian Stolarz, author of Grace and Justice On Death Row: The Race Against Time and Texas to Free an Innocent Man, of Alfred Dewayne Brown’s case. Brown, Stolarz’s client and friend, spent ten years on death row in Texas for a murder he didn’t commit. Armed with only a court-appointed attorney, Brown entered a system where exculpatory documents were withheld and a state doctor falsified his I.Q. test results so he could meet the minimum I.Q. to be executed. Stolarz calls this sort of hasty, malformed conviction and sentencing the “fast food death penalty.” It’s a shockingly contemporary term for a seemingly prosaic injustice. But, as Stolarz shows in his book, it fits neatly into the present-day criminal justice system. 7 p.m. October 26. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. —Katricia Lang

The Kemah Boardwalk invites the adventurous to take a stroll through the dark side of reality with its Dungeon of Doom, a half-mile walk featuring scenes that inspire screams and nightmares. Face your fears with this crazy attraction peppered with the thrills and chills October is so famous for bringing. But why just settle for a haunted house when there’s so much more to celebrate? The boardwalk packs in movie screenings on Fridays, games on the main plaza on Saturdays, and live music on Sundays. For the little ones who might not enjoy things that go bump in the night, there also is a Little Boo Haunted Fun House, complete with pumpkin decorating and youngster-minded activities. Jim Doering, general manager, sums it up by saying, “It’s an all-around good family event. People can enjoy the scares as well as the fall outdoor temperatures.” 6 to 10 p.m. October 26 and 27; 6 to 11 p.m. October 28; 2 p.m. to midnight October 29; 2 to 10 p.m. October 30; 4 to 11 p.m. October 31. Kemah Boardwalk, #8 Kemah Boardwalk, Kemah. For information, call 281-535-8100 or visit dungeonofdoomkemah.com. $5 to $34.99. —Sam Byrd

Thursday, October 27

Even those who didn’t live in Austin in 1991 still hear the words “yogurt shop” and automatically finish the phrase with “murders.” A new book by Austin-based writer Beverly Lowry, WHO KILLED THESE GIRLS? Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders, covers the horrible night 25 years ago when four high school girls were murdered in the I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! store in Austin. The author digs deep into the still unresolved murders of Eliza Thomas, Amy Ayers (sometimes spelled Ayres) and sisters Jennifer and Sarah Harbison, chronicling the initial eight-year investigation that resulted in the arrest of four men in their early twenties. It was a difficult case for the police, with thousands of tips and more than 50 individuals confessing to the crime, tainted further by a heavy-handed cop who coerced a confession by aiming his gun at one of the accused. Years later, DNA evidence pointed to a fifth and possibly a sixth assailant, muddying the waters and leaving everybody still wondering “Who killed these girls?” While the book doesn’t contain photographs, it’s a comprehensive retelling of the long and complicated legal process and includes 2016 updates of the suspects and family members. Lowry will read from her book and sign copies at Brazos Bookstore. 7 p.m. October 27, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. —Susie Tommaney

In a world of fools, a jester may be a scholar. With our own reality plunging further into crazytown, maybe it’s time for a little bit of escapist silliness. Enter The Judgment of Fools, the latest “vaudevillian social experiment” from Horse Head Theatre Company. Utilizing the world of clowning, improv and commedia dell’arte, the Bernardo Cubría play is getting a perfectly timed regional debut this close to election day. “It’s not entirely a coincidence we’re putting up this play now,” says Philip Hays, who directs. Though not a traditional improv show, the play does have a trained improviser as the lead. “It’s not ‘give us a suggestion and watch us build’; it’s more ‘we’ll build your suggestion,’” says Hays. “Obviously, [Brendon Duran] has improv skills useful for those moments when the script is unscripted, but he’s also super-bright and passionate about issues. Even though this play is interactive, bumbling underneath this is a show about people.” 8 p.m. October 27 and 28, and November 3, 9, 10 and 11; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturdays. October 27 through November 12. Rec Room, 100 Jackson. For information, call 281-381-4166 or visit horseheadtheatre.org. $25 to $45. —Vic Shuttee

Aluminum: known to most as only oh-so-average tin foil. But did you know that aluminum has quite the personality? In fact, the boronic element is getting its own one-of-a-kind extravaganza by way of Israeli theater director Ilan Azriel. “Aluminum has so many qualities,” Azriel says, praising the metal’s movement and shine. “This is an amazing material and together with the talented performers and unique lighting, this show is truly visually exciting.” The Aluminum Show, presented by Wells Fargo, has been in development since 2002 and is a unique blend of dancing, music, puppetry, comedy and neat-o light tricks that really brings something new. “This show takes the audiences on a magical tour to a different planet,” Azriel claims. “One man’s journey to a parallel universe made entirely of aluminum. Pipes come to life, transforming into [these] imaginary, mysterious, playful characters.” Beyond spectacle, Azriel says this dizzying circus of imagination also boasts an eco-friendly message. “We live in a world of mass-production high consumption,” Azriel says. “I hope the take-home message is: Use your imagination. Once you see the life inside materials, you [might] be more open to the idea of reusing them.” 7:30 p.m. October 27 and 28. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free. —Vic Shuttee

Girl power is riding high over at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, bringing über-talents from our local arts scene together for another rendition of “Right Here, Right Now,” this time with solo shows by Thedra Cullar-Ledford, Susie Rosmarin and Amy Blakemore. Rosmarin's “Lines and Grids: The Lost Decade and Beyond” exhibit contains roughly 25 works on display (drawings, paintings and sculpture), ranging from the late 1980s to 2015, showing the evolution and trajectory of her work, says Valerie Cassel Oliver, CAMH senior curator and curator of Rosmarin's show. Often categorized as Op Art, Rosmarin's pieces appeal to both arts aficionados and math junkies. “It's easy to think that a lot of her paintings are machine generated; they're so densely layered,” says Cassel Oliver. “She uses numeric formulas to create compositions.” There's a conversation with Rosmarin and Cassel Oliver at 6:30 p.m. October 27. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose. The exhibit continues 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through November 27. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit camh.org. Free. —Susie Tommaney

Friday, October 28

Aging and disappointed in life, Faust sells his soul to the devil — Mephistopheles — in return for youth and the chance to gain the affections of a beautiful young woman. The deal, of course, goes bad long before he is dragged away to hell, but Gounod’s adaptation of Goethe’s play has all the right parts for tragic opera: an arresting story and beautiful music. “It’s the story of us, human beings. We are on a quest for our meaning on Earth. Which direction are we going? What can we do?” says Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, who is making his debut in the Mephistopheles role. Houston favorite Ana María Martinez sings the role of Marguerite, who falls in love with Faust thanks to the jewels he gives her. Tenor Michael Fabiano (winner of both the Richard Tucker and the Beverly Sills artist award in the same year) is Faust, and Pisaroni says their scene in the first act “is one of the best ever written for a tenor and a bass.” Sung in French with English projections. 7:30 p.m. October 28 and November 5, 8 and 11; 2 p.m. October 30. Houston Grand Opera, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $15 to $354. —Margaret Downing

Double, double toil and trouble: A new take on old Macbeth, on the double. Theatre Southwest is offering up a modern twist on an Elizabethan standard with Eric Coble’s Bright Ideas, which is marketed as a black comedy about elite preschools and loosely based on the Bard’s work. Director John Patterson credits his extensive experience with the doomed Scot as a reason he got hired (he’s done it twice in two years). For those less familiar with MacDuff and the gang, fear not: “I actually don’t think its necessary to know [Macbeth] at all,” he says. “There are a lot of callbacks; he borrows a couple of the lines as little ‘gotchas’ — but you could go into this knowing nothing and still have a pretty good time.” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. November 6. October 28 through November 19. 8944-A Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit theatresouthwest.org. $16 to $18. —Vic Shuttee

Saturday, October 29

Louisiana may be a short drive away, but why waste gas money and time when the tastes and sounds of the Pelican State are coming to Houston? The Taste of Louisiana Festival is throwing a Creole-style party with The Second Line Festival, and this year’s theme is “A Tribute to the New Orleans Tradition.” Event coordinator Joaquin Trent says, “The idea of the second line is to capture the energy and entertainment of a second line — including food — and we’re taking it downtown.” Pack costumes, parasols and handkerchiefs and — most important — don’t forget those dancing shoes. The entertainment includes N.O. Hustlers Brass Band; T.B.C Brass Band; Most Wanted Brass Band; Steppers out of New Orleans, Louisiana; the Ice Divas Social Aid and Pleasure Club; Sophisticated Ladies Social Club; and The Who Dat Steppers. Bring your hearty appetite too. Cooks are selling that oh-so-delicious yaka mein, gumbo, fried fish, boudin and jambalaya. 2 to 9 p.m. October 29. Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana. For information, call 832-600-2235 or visit thetasteoflouisiana.com. Free to $20. —Sam Byrd

Take a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. Pretty soon you'll be bringing your knees in tight and doing the Time Warp again and again. This freaky homage to the original classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, comes to Halloween at Historic Market Square courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse's Rolling Roadshow. Be sure to get there by 7 p.m. wearing your version of the perfect costume (fishnets? leather jacket? boxer shorts?) and polish your moves with a Time Warp dance workshop and costume contest, courtesy of those dramatic folks at Theatre Under The Stars. The flick begins at 8 p.m. and you know the drill: bring newspapers, water pistols, rubber gloves and a party hat. 7 p.m. October 29, Historic Market Square, 301 Milam. For information, call 713-650-3022 or visit marketsquarepark.com. —Susie Tommaney

Insomniacs understand that nostalgic thrill that comes from catching one of TIME LIFE’s decadelong collections of classic tunes, interspersed with anecdotes from graying spokespeople who look vaguely familiar. Hearing those hits from the past brings back a flood of memories, and now the creative cast at The Music Box Theater is packaging it all together in The 80s (Mix Tape Diaries). Co-founder Rebekah Dahl says they’ve written new characters for the show and drawn inspiration from the dredging up that comes with the Upper Kirby construction project across the street. “The idea is that we found this time capsule with mixtapes,” Dahl says about the teenage rite of passage of recording custom cassettes. They touch on historical and pop culture from the ’80s as the five fictional characters “dedicate” each song. Enjoy an evening of covers as well as original interpretations: Dahl makes it right with Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and co-founder Brad Scarborough has us floating around in ecstasy with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Luke Wrobel takes us higher with Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” and Kristina Sullivan whispers in the morning with Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.” “Cay Taylor will be doing a little Blondie — ‘Call Me’ — because we want to get a little punk in,” says Dahl. They’ve also lined up several group numbers to “get [some] funk in there,” including the Lionel Richie/Michael Jackson masterpiece, “We Are the World,” which introduced us to so many voices. It’s all backed by the theater’s four-piece band, G Sharp and the MBT Three. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. November 27. October 29 through November 27. 2623 Colquitt. For information, call 713-522-7722 or visit themusicboxtheater.com. $27 to $37. —Susie Tommaney

Houston has loads of festivals, but there’s always room for one more. “My wife, Sylvia, and I are first-generation Egyptians and I had the idea of starting the first festival about two years ago,” says Mark Rafail, president and founder of the first annual Houston Egyptian Festival. In addition to Egyptian fare from Phoenicia Specialty Foods, the daylong shindig also showcases Arabic and Egyptian singers, belly dancing shows and lessons, Egyptian merch and five exotic camels. Additionally, 8th Wonder Brewery is producing a custom craft Egyptian beer for the festival, and Rafail says that he has a commitment from the Egyptian government to fly in the national folkloric dance team, an Egyptologist, and even artifacts that complement the ancient Egyptian relics on display at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. October 29. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, call 832-786-9373 or visit egyptfesthouston.com. Free to $10. —Steve Jansen

Dressing up to go out drinking isn’t necessarily a big deal, but getting costumed on Halloween weekend and going out to booze is way more killer. The 10th annual Montrose Crawl is going all out the Saturday before All Hallows’ Eve, with 12 venues between Dunlavy and Montrose — including El Real Tex-Mex, Hay Merchant, Etro Lounge, Catbirds and Stone’s Throw — participating in a bar crawl and costume contest. It starts at Poison Girl, Pistolero’s and the Free Press Graveyard and ends at Slick Willie’s, where the honorary “Grand Crawler,” state representative Sarah Davis, will announce the grand prize for best overall costume. (Each bar also has its own “Best Costume” contest — think of them as playoff games before the grand championship at Slick Willie’s.) Proceeds benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center, a domestic abuse treatment facility and shelter for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. 6 p.m. to midnight October 29. Various locations. For information, visit montrosecrawl.com. No cover charges. —Steve Jansen

Sunday, October 30

If you like your Halloween with a side of history, venture underground for a watery trek through the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern with Tales from the Cistern. Guided cistern tours are offered nearly every day, but this 30-minute journey will put a spooky twist on the Houston landmark’s history. “We’ll give what the capacity is of the cistern, but in units of blood instead of gallons of water,” says Stephanie Kiouses, Buffalo Bayou Park’s venue and visitor services supervisor. Tour guides will also recount Houston ghost stories, but don’t worry, parents: Everything will remain kid-friendly. “We’re not going for a haunted-house vibe; more of a ‘sitting around the campfire telling ghost stories [vibe],’” Kiouses says. Costumes are encouraged, and tours leave every 30 minutes. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. October 29 and 30. Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. For information, call 713-752-0314 or visit buffalobayou.org. $5. —Carter Sherman

There’s black wood on the top half of the JT ARC Studio house at 517 Winslow. That’s not paint; the wood was charred as a means of preservation. The people behind the AIA Houston Home Tour hope you’ll notice things like that when you visit the homes. “I think a lot of people will miss the charred wood unless they have it pointed out and explained to them,” says AIA Houston Executive Director Rusty Bienvenue. Luckily, the architects for the nine homes included on this year’s tour are on hand to do just that. “That’s one of the nice aspects of the tour. People can ask [the architects] questions, engage them in conversations about what they’ve done, why they’ve done it.” Noon to 6 p.m. October 29 and 30. Various locations. For information, call 713-520-0155 or visit aiahouston.org. $10 to $25. —Olivia Flores Alvarez

What makes art art? That’s the question at the heart of Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval’s This is Modern Art, a play based on an actual graffiti “bombing” that happened in Chicago. “The Art Institute of Chicago opened a modern wing, and one night there appeared this 50-foot-long mural piece in the corner that said ‘This is Modern Art,’” says Stephen Miranda, who is directing the play for The Landing Theatre Company. “So the playwrights sort of used that event to inspire a conversation about where art belongs, who gets to put value on it and, really, what is art?” When the media criticized the play in Chicago for glorifying vandalism to minors, it launched a sh*tstorm on social media. 3 p.m. October 30. Continuing 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and November 7; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays. October 30 through November 19. 1119 Providence. For information, call 562-502-7469 or visit landingtheatre.org. Pay what you can; suggested ticket price is $25 to $35. —Vic Shuttee

Presented on the eve of Halloween, join APERIO, Music of the Americas as they present The Night Gatherers - Evocations of Darkness & Light in American Music. The musical evening includes an exploration of nocturnal themes in contemporary chamber music, including George Crumb's groundbreaking vocal cycle, Apparition, and a collection of recent music by Lera Auerbach. 5 p.m. October 30. The MATCH, 3400 Main. for information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org. $15 to $35. —Susie Tommaney

Monday, October 31

Skip the bars and pumpkin carving, says Kelly Howard of Bayou City Outdoors, and join the group of adventurous hikers who are braving the dark woods of Memorial Park for the 10th Annual Bayou City Outdoors Haunted Hike this Halloween. You’re sure to hear from owls, squirrels and things that generally go bump in the night. “A hike on the trails is exciting, even when it’s not dark,” says Howard. “You add the dark to it, it just gets a lot more fun.” This year’s theme is “slithery things in the dark,” a nod to Harry Potter and a departure from the usual Halloween unusuals like werewolves. Or clowns. If you’re uninterested in the exercise, rest easy; the hike has an after-party that’s open to all. It begins at 8 p.m.; bring $5 for pizza. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. October 31. Memorial Park, 7575 North Picnic Lane. For information, call 713-524-3567 or visit bayoucityoutdoors.com. Free. —Katricia Lang

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