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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Elvis Tribute and Bobby Lee From MADtv

Dean Z. was named the 2013 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist™ in Memphis during “Elvis Week” in a contest sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. He heats up the stage Friday when the Elvis Lives! tour comes to Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.EXPAND
Dean Z. was named the 2013 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist™ in Memphis during “Elvis Week” in a contest sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. He heats up the stage Friday when the Elvis Lives! tour comes to Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.
Photo courtesy of On Stage Touring's Legends in Concert
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Tuesday, February 28

Artist Diana Thater’s The Starry Messenger is a nine-monitor video installation of the ever-shifting and evolving Milky Way. It was filmed at Griffith Observatory Planetarium in Los Angeles and shot from below the massive Zeiss star projector, and it’s on view for the next year at the new Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University. “When you walk into the Moody, you’re immediately greeted by an artwork and you’re in a special space,” says Alison Weaver, executive director. Weaver explains that the piece, which is on a seven-minute video loop, taps into Houston’s core as Space City and will anchor a series of discussions and presentations with scientists, poets, artists and astronauts. “[Thater] is not only interested in the natural world itself, but also how we observe the natural world,” says Weaver. 10 a.m. February 28. Continuing 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. February 24 through February 1. 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-2787 or visit moody.rice.edu. Free. — Steve Jansen

Seventy-five years after the historic Battle of Sunda Strait, in which the American and Australian sailors who survived the sinking of the USS Houston and the HMAS Perth joined British and other forced laborers in building a railway linking Thailand to Burma, we recognize both the survivors and the more than 12,000 Allied POWs who lost their lives in that endeavor. The Houston Museum of Natural Science, in association with the Archaeological Institute of America, Houston, is screening the 1957 film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, which tells the story of just one of the 688 bridges along the "Burma Death Railway" route. Dr. Jay Thomas, US Naval History and Heritage Command, will introduce the film. 6:30 p.m. February 28. 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit hmns.org. $12 to $18. — Susie Tommaney

Related events:

Wednesday, March 1

You'll be served with a generous helping of adrenaline at this year's iteration of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, now touring the United States and making a two-day stop at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, courtesy of Whole Earth Provision Co. Wednesday's lineup touches on desert hiking, skiing, falconry, sledding and lots of climbing; come back on Thursday for a completely different lineup of flicks covering surfing, seafaring, bike-packing and tons of enviro. Chances are you'll soon be either planning a trip or heading out to the great outdoors for some of your own exploration of our magnificent planet. 7 p.m. March 1 and 2. Mason Park, 531 South Mason, Katy. For information, call 281-492-6900 or visit drafthouse.com/houston/theater/mason-park. $25. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, March 2

There are no flowing locks — well, at least not on the title character. “She’s a little more rough and tumble” than the Disney version, says Melody Mennite, principal dancer for the Houston Ballet, who dances the lead in Cinderella. As for the twist, the stepmother and stepsisters Grizabella and Florinda are played by men dancing en pointe. Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, who created the choreography to Sergei Prokofiev’s beautiful music, takes a few turns with the storyline that are unexpected to those familiar with the classic version of girl meets Prince, loses shoe and wraps up with a happily-ever-after with the heir to the kingdom. “I just really like the heart of the story and the character,” says Mennite. “It feels much more genuine to me.” 7:30 p.m. March 2. Continuing 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. March 4 and 11, 2 p.m. March 5 and 12, 7:30 p.m. March 10. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $25 to $195. — Margaret Downing

A decently obscure war battle — The Battle of Sunda Strait on February 28, 1942 — still matters a whole heck of a lot today for American-Australian relations. The exhibition, “Guardians of Sunda Strait: The World War II Loss of HMAS Perth and USS Houston,” which took the Australian National Maritime Museum and Booker•Lowe Gallery four years to put together, looks back on the battle — a crucial loss for the Allies against Japanese forces — after 75 years and the implications that still resonate today. “I believe this event exemplifies the close alliance and friendship between the U.S. and Australia, and our common commitment to preserve and defend freedom,” says Nana Booker, honorary consul emeritus of Australia and owner of Booker•Lowe Gallery. “In 2018, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. and Australia fighting alongside one another in wars around the world — World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq.” 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 2. Continuing 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. March 2 through June 30. Houston Public Library, 550 McKinney. For information, call 713-880-1541 or visit bookerlowegallery.com or houstonlibrary.org. Free. — Steve Jansen

Live from Chicago, it’s The Second City tour company. The famed comedy stage and long-running breeding ground for many of America’s great modern humorists is sending its best and brightest sketches and performers down to the Bayou City for a one-night performance of The Best of Second City. Developed through improv, the troupe has churned out many entertainment greats over the past 55 years, including Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Bob Odenkirk. Up-and-coming “Blue Company” performers Adam Archer, Danny Catlow, Alison Gates, Eve Krueger, Lauren Walker and Greg Ott get the opportunity to work with the scripts developed by the masters of old, as well as improvise based on audience suggestions, bringing some welcome humor to this recently revamped, circa-1929 venue. 8 p.m. March 2. The Heights Theater, 339 West 19th. For information, call 214-272-8346 or visit theheightstheater.com. $28 to $42. — Vic Shuttee

In one play, a man returns to his former home to present his wife with his new girlfriend and his wife decides some striking back is needed. Another takes a new look at Medea and the breakup of her marriage. Three other plays have a common theme of survival at their core: Detroit workers facing the foreclosure of their plant, a classically trained actress doing Shakespeare in Las Vegas and a Polish immigrant who needs some financial security. It’s all part of the 11-day inaugural play reading festival, 4th Wall Reads: Women’s Voices, featuring the works of five female playwrights, including Theresa Rebeck, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Talk-backs are moderated by Dr. Rob Shimko, director of the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance, and 4th Wall co-founder Kim Tobin-Lehl; there’s also a late-night poetry slam on March 4. 7:30 p.m. March 2. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 2:30, 7:30 and 10 p.m. March 4; 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. March 11; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. March 2-12. 4th Wall Theatre Company, Studio 101, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com/reads. Free with reservations. — Margaret Downing

Friday, March 3

The United States has seen 45 presidents, but there’s been only one king. His name is Elvis. In his heyday, he caused hysteria with his swiveling hips and curled lip. The rock-and-roll sensation still reigns with Elvis Lives!, a celebration of the life and times of the hunk of burning love. Lace up the blue suede shoes and hire a pet sitter for the hound dog because this is a nostalgic, not-to-be-missed moment. Valentine’s Day might be over, but don’t be cruel to your loved one by skipping out on this unforgettable adventure. Audiences can’t help falling in love with this phenomenal theatrical concert experience, complete with live music and a multimedia presentation of his work. The show features champions and finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest who will move, groove and soothe your heartstrings. 8 p.m. March 3. Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $45 to $85. — Sam Byrd

Are you the old-school four-wheeler type, or do you prefer inline rollerblades? Either way, Kinder Lake holds the key as it has been transformed into a temporary roller rink in Avenida Houston presents The Rink: Rolling at Discovery Green®. On opening night, glide to hits from the ’50s through the ’90s, plus enjoy derby demo battles from Houston’s finest. Come back for Cheap Skate Nights on March 6 and 20 and extended hours during spring break. “It’s kind of like riding a bike — you don’t forget how to skate,” says Lori San Miguel, Discovery Green’s programming and communications coordinator. “Plus, being outdoors will bring a different element to roller skating. Who else can say they roller-skated underneath the skyline of such a great city?” 5 to 11 p.m. March 3. Continuing 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. March 13-17. March 3-25. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-434-7465 or visit discoverygreen.com/rollerrink. $6 to $14. — Sam Byrd

Some advice for Go Texan Day rookies: If you’re going to wear a brand-new pair of cowboy/girl boots for the citywide kickoff celebration for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, please break those puppies in beforehand. Because by hour number four of an eight-hour workday, especially if you’re on your feet a bunch, you’ll be hating life, no matter how awesome you look in your (most likely) all-new western wear.
Double bonus: Your feet will be much more comfortable the next day while you're running or walking in the 5k/10k Rodeo Run and taking in the Downtown Rodeo Parade — we’re told that the best viewing spots are from Louisiana to Smith and from Bell to Lamar. Go Texan Day is all day Friday. The run, which costs $35, starts at 9:20 a.m. March 4 at the corner of Walker and Bagby and is followed by the free parade at 10 a.m. at the same intersection. For information, call 832-667-1000 or visit rodeohouston.com. — Steve Jansen

J.S. Bach’s Art of Fugue — one of the master’s final works — is incredible, but the hour-and-change piece can be a bit hard to digest in one sitting, spurning a crazy challenge for Mark Steinberg: presenting Fugue as a performance installation. “I thought that if we’re going to do this, we should do it in a way that the listener can understand and experience all of the textures and interactions of the piece,” says Steinberg, violinist of the Brentano String Quartet, which leads the sonic, dance and spoken-word interpretation of BWV 1080. Engineer Gabriel Calatrava and choreographer John-Mario Sevilla, along with the Art of Fugue dancers, metaphorically visualize Fugue with a stunning moving sculpture. It took two years to put together the installation, which has been performed only once in New York City, and it is being presented in Houston courtesy of Da Camera. Arrive early at 7:15 p.m. for a pre-concert conversation. 8 p.m. March 3. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. $37.50 to $67.50. — Steve Jansen

From 2001-2009, Bobby Lee's MADtv characters included Connie Chung, Kim Jong-il, a hapless interpreter and a blind Kung-Fu master. Now he's bringing the laughs to Houston Improv, March 3-5.EXPAND
From 2001-2009, Bobby Lee's MADtv characters included Connie Chung, Kim Jong-il, a hapless interpreter and a blind Kung-Fu master. Now he's bringing the laughs to Houston Improv, March 3-5.
Photo courtesy of Houston Improv

Saturday, March 4

Will Bobby Lee do his entire show wearing only his underwear? This is the kind of question we have to ask when the Los Angeles-based actor, comedian and writer returns for a five-show stint at Houston Improv. Whatever the attire, he’s sure to bare all. After his noteworthy roles in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Pineapple Express and on MADtv, we checked in with Lee a couple of years ago about his rebirth into the stand-up world after the sketch series ended. “While I was on MAD, all I thought of was how I wanted to get off the show. Then the show gets canceled and reality starts to hit. But in stand-up, you realize that you have a point of view, and when it comes to comedy, your gut instinct is correct. Stand-up is all about walking through fear, taking chances and failing. The more you fail, the better you get.” 7 and 9:30 p.m. March 4. Also 8 and 10:30 p.m. March 3, 7:30 p.m. March 5. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $22 to $35. — Vic Shuttee

There’s a moment on “Music for Pieces of Wood,” the closing track on Third Coast Percussion’s Steve Reich, when the listener is lulled into forgetting, as the song title implies, that he’s hearing pitched wood. The sounds, coaxed from each member as he takes a drumstick to a wooden slat, appear to be something closer to those coming from a prehistoric instrument or something played through a vibraphone. There might be a reason that the piece, and many of the others on the 2016 album on the Cedille label, stands out: It’s good. So good, in fact, that the Chicago-based group just won its first Grammy Award for the album. Now the ensemble — composed of David Skidmore, Robert Dillion, Peter Martin and Sean Connors — is coming to Houston audiences courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts. 8 p.m. March 4. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $23 to $53. — Steve Jansen

Bill Maher has been doing this whole comedy thing for a long while, and somehow he’s still making the news. The stand-up and 14-year host of HBO’s Real Time recently raised the ire of the media after booking then-Breitbart writer and alt-righter Milo Yiannopoulos — a move Maher defended as simply his right to confront the opposition. And, weeks later, the stunt seems to have worked. The Odd Couple twosome had a spirited debate, Yiannopoulous came across as charming as a wrestling villain and the YouTube views speak for themselves: more than a million in less than a week. Now Maher is bringing his biting wit and humor to Smart Financial Centre in An Evening with Bill Maher, and he’s sure to draw inspiration from headline news and the dysfunction in Washington. 8 p.m. Saturday. 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $49.50 to $150. — Vic Shuttee

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a 17th-century Mexican nun, used every trick in her toolbox to defend herself against charges brought by the Inquisition. Now MECA is presenting a new staging of the multimedia theater production, Sor Juana & the Chambered Nautilus, that tells the uplifting story of how this unlikely heroine rose to the challenge and defended not only her interest in worldly learning but also the rights of all women to have an education and life of the mind. Originally performed in Ohio in 2003 by playwright Ángeles Romero (former artistic director at Talento Bilingüe de Houston), this production — with direction by Dianne K. Webb along with the theater troupe Absolute Art Productions — integrates unsettling monologues with video projections. A Q&A about gender discrimination and violence against women follows the 80-minute performance. 8 p.m. March 4. Also 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. March 3-11. 1900 Kane. For information, call 713-802-9370 or visit meca-houston.org. $10 to $20. — Susie Tommaney

We have to believe that Alfred Hitchcock won't be turning in his grave over this modern take on his 1927 silent film classic, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, about a serial killer known as "The Avenger" who murders blond women. A new score by American composer Joseph Williams II provides a dramatic backdrop to Hitchcock's eerie tale, presented in Houston by APERIO, Music of the Americas, and featuring internationally celebrated cellist Bion Tsang and the Texas Guitar Quartet (Williams, along with Issac Bustos, Jonathan Dotson and Alejandro Montiel). 8 p.m. March 4. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org/events/hitchcocks-lodger. $15 to $35. — Susie Tommaney

Adult coloring books are all the rage, but why not color outside the lines and come up with your own drawing? Now sounds like a great time to start, especially as the hospitable folks over at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center are providing beer from Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Oenophiles can BYOB, but everything else will be provided: watercolor pencils and paints, drawing paper and brushes, and the beautiful insects, flowers and greenery at this 155-acre urban oasis on the western edge of Memorial Park. The Drink & Draw: Spring Watercolors class is open to those ages 16 and older, but you'll have to prove age 21 to quaff a cold one. 6 to 8 p.m. March 4. 4501 Woodway. For information, call 713-681-8433 or visit houstonarboretum.org. $30 to $45. — Susie Tommaney

It's a new team, a new year and another chance to kick Seattle to the curb. Show some orange love and come out for the season opener, Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC, as we pit our new team against the 2016 MLS Cup Champions. If you're feeling all extroverted, consider becoming a card-carrying member of the Forever Orange Membership Club this year and check out the super awesome Orange Rewards memorabilia and experiences; or come early and kick back in the Bud Light Beer Garden. No matter how you choose to support the Dynamo — one of the most successful clubs in Major League Soccer, with two MLS Cup championships and four conference titles in 11 years — this first game of the year promises to be over the top with a post-game fireworks display. 7:30 p.m. March 4. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. For information, call 713-276-4625 or visit houstondynamo.com or ticketingcentral.com. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, March 5

Thanks to advances in treatment, HIV/AIDS has become a manageable disease, but the fight to end this epidemic isn’t over. More than 1,200 people are newly infected with HIV in the Houston community each year, which makes the AIDS Walk Houston 2017: Red Umbrella Stroll a sobering yet important part of the battle. Kelly Young, CEO of AIDS Foundation Houston, has some words of encouragement for the projected 10,000 people who will strut the 5K track. “We’re a city that when we put our minds to it, and in this case our feet to it, we can accomplish anything.” She estimates more than 30,000 people will benefit from the fund-raiser. Adding more pep to the step, the organization has booked a DJ to jazz the crowd as well as Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack, Doughmaker Doughnuts and Moon Rooster food trucks for hungry participants. Registration begins at noon. 1 to 4 p.m. March 5. Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby. For information, call 713-623-6796 or visit aidshelp.org. Free. — Sam Byrd

Franz Schubert was miserable writing the Schubert Octet in 1824, both physically sick and emotionally tired of living in Beethoven’s shadow. Yet ROCO clarinetist Nathan Williams says the resulting six-movement piece, commissioned by fellow clarinetist Count Ferdinand von Troyer, “is just like a big party.” The first movement is joyful banter, the winds in conversation with the strings; the second, a melancholic cantabile, followed by an upbeat scherzo, a palate cleanser of sorts; the fourth, a theme and variations based on one of Schubert’s comic operas, The Friends from Salamanca. Williams says the fifth movement, a minuet and trio, will make you want to get up and dance before the rousing, exciting push to the finale. “It’s really inspiring,” says Williams, “because it makes us think that even out of the depths of despair, there can be so much beauty and so much wonder and possibility.” 5 p.m. March 5. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-665-2700 or visit rocohouston.org. $15 to $25. — Natalie de la Garza

Monday, March 6

It’s an evening of shorts, including a story about a man so average he becomes a celebrity and his wife tries to capitalize on his 15 minutes of fame. In addition to An Average Story, the 7:30 p.m. screening of Short Film Night includes An Old Score, The Little Dictator and Incognito. Also on the lineup is a 5 p.m. screening of Moos, making its Houston premiere as part of this year’s Houston Jewish Film Festival, which runs March 5-19 at seven different locations. “Moos is a film from the Netherlands and it’s about a woman whose dream is to go to acting school, which doesn’t really go over well with her family,” says John Dreyfus, chair of the festival’s selection committee. “She has all sorts of pitfalls along the way, and it has a real nice surprise ending.” 5 and 7:30 p.m. March 6. Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-729-3200 or visit erjcchouston.org/arts/houston-jewish-film-festival. $6 to $14. — Susie Tommaney

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