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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Dancing With the Stars and the Batmobile

"A Tribute to George Barris" opens this Wednesday at the National Museum of Funeral History and features a replica of the 1966 Batmobile designed by the "original" King of Kustomizers, George Barris.EXPAND
"A Tribute to George Barris" opens this Wednesday at the National Museum of Funeral History and features a replica of the 1966 Batmobile designed by the "original" King of Kustomizers, George Barris.
Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Funeral History
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Tuesday, January 31

Singletary, Dickerson, Campbell — Texas boasts 30 NFL Hall of Famers in total, many represented in “Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame” at Texas Southern University. The 6,000-square-foot traveling exhibit includes more than 200 artifacts, ranging from an 1892 accounting sheet dubbed pro football’s “birth certificate” to the Texans’ $700 million invoice and everything in between — like Knute Rockne’s leather helmet and an elevator switch from the lift Art Rooney was in when he missed the Immaculate Reception. “It’s surreal in some places,” says Eva Pickens, vice president of University Advancement. “[Football’s] come a mighty long way.” Pickens says not to miss “Let’s Hear It for the Hometown,” a section dedicated to the Oilers, Texans and, of course, TSU Tigers, such as HOFer Michael Strahan. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. January 30 through April 30. University Museum, 3100 Cleburne. For information, call 713-313-1361 or visit sites.tsu.edu/gridiron. Free to $20. — Natalie de la Garza

For the greatest of composers — those who both advanced the form and produced a body of work — it’s become tradition to recognize those who came before. “Mozart wrote a set of string quartets, dedicating them to Haydn, who was considered the master of the form. Beethoven picked up the torch from Mozart,” says Ab Sengupta, general manager for Da Camera, which is bringing back the London-based Elias String Quartet for In Beethoven’s Footsteps. Bartók stayed true to the tradition of looking back while trying to contribute to the evolution of the form. “We hear colors and sounds in the Bartók string quartet that we never heard before: Violins, viola and cello; it’s still the four instruments. It’s an incredible exercise,” says Sengupta. The quartet (Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant, Martin Saving and Marie Bitlloch) honors the greats while performing Beethoven’s Quartet in f minor, Bartók’s dramatic Quartet No. 4 and Brahms’s lyrical A Minor Quartet. 7:30 p.m. January 31. The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. $60. — Susie Tommaney

The colossal face-off between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots has the entire city vibrating with excitement. Houston upped its party game with tons of celebrations around town — some exclusive and private, some not. If you didn’t get the invitation to the Big Game Big Give party, hosted by Josh Brolin at the plush estate of Michael and Lisa Holthouse, or if you didn’t find yourself on the short list for some of the swankier hooplas around town, fret not. We’ve got you covered with tons of super events lined up for the big week. Check out our Super Bowl Guide in the January 26 print edition of the Houston Press (or online as a flipbook), or visit houstonpress.com/calendar. Game on. — Sam Byrd

Wednesday, February 1

Without George Barris, the "original" King of Kustomizers, we wouldn't have the Munster Koach or the 1966 Batmobile. Genius when it came to custom cars, this American designer and builder also was responsible for the casket-turned-dragster Drag-U-La for The Munsters, a truck for The Beverly Hillbillies and one of the more updated KITTs for the later seasons of Knight Rider. Sadly, this larger-than-life designer passed away in 2015, and now the National Museum of Funeral History is celebrating his life and work through a new exhibit, "A Tribute to George Barris." We'll get to see a replica of that 1966 Batmobile (the actual car auctioned for $4.6 million in 2013). The exhibit also includes a replica of the casket in which he was buried, personal memorabilia, and a memorial card from his funeral. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. February 1 through December 31. 415 Barren Springs. For information, call 281-387-3063 or visit nmfh.org. Free to $10. — Susie Tommaney

As Houston readies for Super Bowl Sunday, VIP Comedy Events is bringing in its own heavy hitters, including headliner Rickey Smiley, host of his hip-hop morning show and a reality TV star, plus comedy powerhouse Earthquake, a veteran stand-up and actor known for memorable spots in Ice Cube’s The Longshots and Kevin Smith’s Clerks II. “What we wanted to do for this Super Bowl was to give back while having a lot of fun,” says Velma Trayham, producer of the Super Bowl Comedy Bowl Explosion, adding that a portion of the proceeds benefits Texas Southern University’s scholarship fund and the Mack Performing Arts Collective. Rounding out the bill are comics Tony Roberts, Michael Blackson and Houston’s own Billy Sorrells and Ali Siddiq. “This is a welcome-to-Houston kickoff,” says Trayham. “While I’m excited for everybody, it’s really special to get some Houston comics on a stage of this magnitude.” 7:30 p.m. February 1. Texas Southern University, H&PE Arena, 3100 Cleburne. For information, call 800-745-3000 or visit vipcomedyevents.com. $55 to $125. — Vic Shuttee

While we're knee-deep in football fandom, it helps to pause for a moment and step back to see how Houston and football have evolved over the last 100 or so years. Take a trip down memory lane with The Heritage Society and its timely exhibit, "Bayou City Blitz: The History of Houston Football." It's chockablock with iconic photographs, video, vintage equipment, trophies, uniforms, programs and other memorabilia covering our favorite moments from NFL to colleges and from high schools to pick-up games in the park. In addition to obvious moments from the Astrodome, the Luv Ya Blue Oilers years, and the Houston Texans, they also have rare historical items like a photo of an early Rice Owls game, circa 1914, showing the steeple of Antioch Baptist Church. The steeple was destroyed the following year in a hurricane and rebuilt in a different style. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Through April 29. The Heritage Society Museum Gallery, 1100 Bagby. For information, call 713-655-1912 or visit heritagesociety.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, February 2

Whether you know him for his parade of charming roles in box office hits like Hot Tub Time Machine and Sausage Party, his turns as the prankster master criminal on Brooklyn Nine-Nine or his defining role as the deadpanning warehouse foreman Darryl from The Office, you know that Craig Robinson’s got the formula for funny down. But, according to the man himself, you haven’t seen his best until you’ve seen his stand-up. “This is home base; this is what I do. I love meeting the people, touching the people, getting that immediate response,” says Robinson. As to who the real Craig is, Robinson says he probably hedges on the side of his This Is the End depiction. “You’ve got me on the keyboard, doing a bit of call-and-response, singing about taking yo panties off,” he laughs. “It’s a bunch of silliness; we don’t get too serious — but there’s some heart attached.” 8 p.m. February 2, 8 and 10:30 p.m. February 3, 7 and 9:30 p.m. February 4. Houston Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $25. — Vic Shuttee

Forget the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week; the Houston Symphony is presenting its own version à la West Side Story, under the baton of Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Whether you’re #TeamShark or #TeamJet, you’ll “play it cool” with the familiar rhythms of Leonard Bernstein’s timeless retelling of Romeo and Juliet. The production spent multiple years on Broadway before earning ten Academy Awards for its film adaptation, and now it’s surging again. Don’t miss a special pre-show double bass solo performance from Principal Bass Robin Kesselman; he’s playing Serge Koussevitzky’s bass concerto from opus 3. “A lot of audiences have seen the symphony, but this is a different connection. They get to hear the individual sounds, and it’s a different connection with the soloist than with the whole symphony,” says Kesselman. 8 p.m. February 2 and 3. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $136. — Sam Byrd

Art, fashion, music and sports will collide for this quintessential event, The Houston Power Party, which features multiple interactive areas throughout The Houston Museum of Natural Science. Gain access to one-of-a-kind exhibits, celebrity appearances, theatrical lighting, concert-level sound and several unique experiences at this swanky extravaganza. Featuring Kid Capri, Go DJ Hi-C and DJ Supastar in the mix, this electrified party benefits the Santana Dotson Foundation and the Moran Norris Foundation, both of which are centered around youth enrichment. Leave the baggy jeans, sneakers and ball caps at home and put on your finest gear for this one, because Mayor Sylvester Turner will be in the house. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. February 2. 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, visit houstonpowerparty.com. $100 to $250. — Brooke Viggiano

“It’s not like your typical Broadway show,” says Melvin Childs, producer of Love Jones: The Musical. “It’s more like an R&B concert.” The cast boasts Billboard staples Chrisette Michele, Raheem DeVaughn, Marsha Ambrosius, MC Lyte and Musiq Soulchild, and he says it’s this union of the music and theater worlds that makes the show, inspired by the 1997 film about the fine line between love and friendship, fresh. Childs says Love Jones resonates, particularly among Gen X black women, for its portrayal of modern black courtship. It’s not the film onstage and it’s not a sequel: There are new characters and (of course) new songs, but Childs guarantees audiences will still see the coupling of Nina and Darius. 7:30 p.m. February 2 and 3; noon, 4 and 8 p.m. February 4. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit lovejonesthemusical.com. $55 to $110. — Natalie de la Garza

This year’s Mirrorball Trophy winner, Laurie Hernandez, will dazzle with her moves this Monday in Dancing With The Stars: Live! — We Came To Dance.EXPAND
This year’s Mirrorball Trophy winner, Laurie Hernandez, will dazzle with her moves this Monday in Dancing With The Stars: Live! — We Came To Dance.
Photo by David Conger

Friday, February 3

Picture it: In Sri Lanka’s lush setting, boy meets girl. Then another boy meets same girl. Out of civility, both boys agree not to fight over the girl and everything ends in disaster. It’s just another opera plot, right? Wrong, Les Pêcheurs de Perles is one of the first operas budding composer Georges Bizet would create in 1863 before rising to critical acclaim. Opera in the Heights highlights maestro Bizet for one week with what many classical music lovers view as the seedling to his world-renowned Carmen. “The music is ravishingly beautiful,” says stage director John De Los Santos. “It’s got violence, sex and action, but it’s also about romance and exotic location.” This hot story is just what the doctor ordered for a cold and wet winter in Houston. 7:30 p.m. February 3, 9 and 11; 2 p.m. February 5. 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit operaintheheights.org. $15 to $75. — Sam Byrd

American choreographer and dancer Farrell Dyde is bringing new meaning to the maxim Mountains Are Mountains when he debuts a trio of new works making their world premiere in Houston. With the wisdom of maturity and hindsight, Dyde looks back to the music and memories of those coming-of-age years in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, setting The Last Boy to a score by the late Harry Nilsson, the Beatles’ “favorite American artist.” For New York Nocturne, Dyde went for a “totally different tone” by backing it with a string quartet. The one-man show closes with Koan Blue, a sort-of sequel to Dyde’s earliest dance from 1977. “I’m drawing on that original, but it’s also very different,” says Dyde, although both are set to work by composer Michael Nyman. The bookending is bittersweet, as this likely will be Dyde’s final solo venture. 8 p.m. February 3 and 4. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org. $10 to $15. — Vic Shuttee

At Old West Melodrama’s dinner theater production The Great Oil Scam of Sulphur Flats, you’re not only encouraged to boo, hiss, yell, cheer and throw popcorn; director Jennifer Adams says they’ll stop the show if you don’t. Adams’s father, troupe founder Joe Cole, was inspired by old-timey radio shows, and this one — about a con man, Slick Rascal, and his sidekick, Gopher O’dor, trying to cheat two sisters out of oil money in Luling, Texas — is full of corny jokes, groaners and plenty of repetition so audiences can jump right in. “Some people, their whole goal is ‘can I mess you up,’” says Adams. “We love them.” She says if you’ve had a bad day, “Come throw popcorn at us. It will relieve all your stress.” Dinner and a pre-show begin at 7 p.m. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. February 3-18. Puffabelly’s Old Depot Restaurant, 100 Main, Spring. For information, call 713-364-9190 or visit oldwestmelodrama.com. $13 to $19. — Natalie de la Garza

Most are familiar with the story of feuding roommates: the neat and meticulous hypochondriac Felix Ungar and the messy-as-all-get-out, recently divorced, Oscar Madison. Neil Simon's The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway and was revived as both a 1968 film and a 1970s television series. Now Director Chris Gibson is taking a scoop from all genres to create a two-for-one adaptation at Stageworks Theatre. He alternates casts and has males playing the feuding roomies as a basis for the launch of the movie, while at another performance he has females playing the same characters 20 years later. Rachel Landon channels her inner neatnik as "Florence" while Nora Hahn is the cigar-chomping slob as "Olive." For the male version of the production, Mark Mendelsohn is Oscar and Patrick Barton cleans up as Felix. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through February 19. 10760 Grant. For information, call 281-587-6100 or visit stageworkstx.org. $17 to $25, or $37 to see both versions. — Susie Tommaney

Savvy collectors and artists were hot for the art coming out of Africa in the ’50s and ’60s, and museum founders John and Dominique de Menil acquired more than 80 works from the region now known as Mali. The sculptures, masks and architectural objects were sometimes functional, sometimes ornamental, but they all had something in common. “All of these would have moved. They would have been processed or danced or worn and they would have made sounds,” says Paul R. Davis, curator of collections, who organized the “ReCollecting Dogon” exhibit at The Menil Collection. He’s pairing the objects with photographs, documents, sound recordings and films, plus works by contemporary artists, including attention-grabbing masks by Malian artist Amahigueré Dolo. “Then there are these wonderful drawings that are full of color by Alaye Kene Atô, who has a really tragic story of losing his arm and being able to draw as a therapeutic [response to] losing his arm,” says Davis. There’s a public program, “Of the World: In Conversation with Artist Amahigueré Dolo,” from 7 to 8 p.m. February 16. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. February 3 through July 9. 1533 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit menil.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Saturday, February 4

There’s nothing negative to say about Sophia Loren. Ever. Okay, maybe the film version of Verdi’s Aida was the Italian movie clunker to end all movie clunkers, but young, earthy Sophia barged through that experience when everyone else would have sunk. Dubbed by opera’s super diva Renata Tebaldi and swathed in non-PC nut-brown body makeup, she’s an eyeful. When the statuesque 19-year-old caught the eye of movie producer Carlo Ponti, she subsequently conquered Italian cinema, besieged Hollywood and soon had the world at her feet, with Ponti as her husband and a Best Actress Academy Award for Vittorio de Sica’s Two Women, the first acting prize ever given to an actor in a foreign film. She has stories to tell, both personal and professional, and she’ll tell them with film clips and home movies during An Evening with Sophia Loren at The Grand 1894 Opera House. Former Entertainment Tonight host Bill Harris will facilitate questions from audience members. Who could pass up a one-nighter with this singular cinema icon? 8 p.m. February 4. 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, call 800-821-1894 or visit thegrand.com. $55 to $75. — D.L. Groover

Concert promoters and club owners aren’t the only ones trying to capitalize on the crowds headed to Houston for Super Bowl LI. The UFC is making its return with UFC Fight Night: Bermudez vs. Korean Zombie. On one side of the Octagon is Dennis Bermudez, a.k.a. “The Menace,” with a professional record of 16-5 and a two-fight win streak. He’ll be facing off against Chan Sung Jung, nicknamed “The Korean Zombie” because that’s just how he fights; he can take your biggest shot, and unless you knock him out, he’s just going to keep moving forward. It’ll be interesting to see how Jung looks in the ring since this is his first fight since a TKO loss in 2013; he’s spent the last two years doing his mandatory military service in South Korea. With 13 fights on the card, including the matchup between undefeated Alexa Grasso and Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig, fight fans are in for a long night of action. 6 p.m. February 4. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. For information, call 866-446-8849 or visit houstontoyotacenter.com. $40 to $175. — Cory Garcia

At the Taste of Katy Chili Bowl and Celebrity Flag Football Game, the fun includes an amateur chili cookoff competition, live music, celebrity appearances, vendors, food trucks, a silent auction, kids' activities and a celebrity flag football game, with Doug Flutie as an anchor quarterback and Cowboys alum Michael Irvin as a celebrity captain. Admission to the tailgate is free, with $20 tickets to the celebrity flag football game. Noon to 3 p.m. February 4. Rhodes Stadium, 1733 Katy Fort Bend, Katy. For information, visit katytailgate.com. Free to $20. There's an after party from 4 to 8 p.m. at No Label Brewery, 5351 1st Street, Katy. The $15 ticket price gets you a pint glass and three beers. — Brooke Viggiano

Sunday, February 5

In its second year, the Alley All New Festival gives Houston audiences another chance to see a bit of everything, and cutting-edge at that, in a series of workshops and readings. This Sunday Christina Gorman makes her Alley debut with Roan @ The Gates, a play about a relationship that intersects with national security. The festival includes late add Suzanne Vega (with Duncan Sheik) in her new musical, Lover, Beloved: An Evening with Carson McCullers. Tony-nominated playwright Robert Askins is dropping in with a new farce, The Carpenter, about a Texas couple on their way to the altar. Kenneth Lin returns to the Alley, this time with a stage adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as does Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph with Describe the Night. Don’t know all these playwrights? This is your chance to have a front-row seat with emerging and established playwrights and actors. Performance dates and times vary; reservations are recommended. February 2-12. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org/allnew. Free. — Margaret Downing

At its Fourth Annual Super Beef Sunday, Saint Arnold Brewing Company is bringing in a master of barbecue from central Texas, and he'll be joined by a couple of young guns from Houston. Come taste the results as legendary Louie Mueller BBQ smokes out alongside Pinkerton's Barbecue and Harlem Road Texas BBQ. The beer will be flowing throughout the event, but don't dawdle, because the pickin's will be slim after 12:30 p.m. or so and you'll want to taste everything the pitmasters have to offer. Ticket price gets you tastings from all three pitmasters, beer and a commemorative pint glass. Chances are that you'll want to take some beef home with you, and you can, but only if you place your order ahead of time. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. February 5. 2000 Lyons. For information, call 713-686-9494 or visit saintarnold.com/super-beef-sunday. $50. — Brooke Viggiano

Monday, February 6

You’ve seen them sizzle on the dance floor on television. Now we have the chance to watch the hot steppers as they bring us Dancing With The Stars: Live! — We Came To Dance. All the greats are showing off their skills, including ace hoofers Lindsay Arnold Cusick, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Hayley Erbert, Jenna Johnson, Keo Motsepe and Gleb Savchenko. A special guest, this year’s Mirrorball Trophy winner, Laurie Hernandez, will dazzle with her moves. America fell in love with her during the 2016 Summer Olympics, where she won a team gold and individual silver medals in gymnastics, and she was voted all the way to the top shortly afterward when she joined the hit show. Laurie lit the stage on fire with her partner, Val, and that same heat is what folks can expect with this super-star-studded cast. 7:30 p.m. February 6. Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $65 to $95. — Sam Byrd

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