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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Rodeo, Regatta and a Burlesque Festival

Maggie Flecknoe, morning anchor and supervising producer for the CW's national morning show, Eye Opener, was named Champion during 2016's Celebrity Dairy Goat Milking Competition.EXPAND
Maggie Flecknoe, morning anchor and supervising producer for the CW's national morning show, Eye Opener, was named Champion during 2016's Celebrity Dairy Goat Milking Competition.
Photo by Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™
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Tuesday, March 7

Prairie View A&M provides the goats and Houston provides the talent for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Celebrity Dairy Goat Milking Contest, a frantic 60 seconds of morning radio hosts, TV personalities and journalists vying for the title of Milker Supreme. Self-professed city girl Rhonda O’Donovan, vice chair for events, admits she’s never milked a goat and has no desire to. So, how does she explain the popularity of the contest? Simple. The contest is humanizing and fun and “how often do you see the guy on the local five o’clock news with his hands around a goat teat?” This year, Sunny 99.1’s Dana Tyson returns looking for her record (but challenging) sixth win, as she faces a field of 20 other contestants, including The Eagle’s Jennifer Tyler and the Houston Press’s own Zach Despart. 4 p.m. March 7. NRG Center, One NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1080 or visit rodeohouston.com. $5 to $10. — Natalie de la Garza

Wednesday, March 8

Going out to dinner sounds like a great date night, right? Not always, and especially as served up in lyricist-composer-librettist Gregg Coffin’s Five Course Love, a musical set in five restaurants where the dates can — and do — go horribly awry. “It’s three actors doing 15 different roles in five different scenes,” says Mitchell Greco, who is directing and choreographing the comedy for Stages Repertory Theatre. A live band handles the score: “They’ll be seen. They are the quote unquote chefs in the kitchen,” says Greco. Coffin is a favorite for this troupe; he wrote the first panto that Stages ever did (Cinderella), as well as Convenience. “He was in town recently. He’s much like this show is. He’s smart, he’s fast and he’s really, really funny,” says Greco. 7:30 p.m. March 8. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. March 8 through April 16. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21 to $75. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, March 9

Commander in Tweet. Trumplethinskin. Orange Luscious. Funnyman Huggy Lowdown says he has a 1,000 names for President Trump and points to the current political arena as a rich source for new material. “I can name more people in the Trump administration than I can name in the group Jagged Edge. He’s consuming our life. Every day, we can’t not talk about this guy,” says Lowdown. “This administration might not be making America great again, but it damn sure is making Saturday Night Live great again.” In addition to hearing some of Lowdown’s 997 other nicknames for our president, we’ll also catch his hilarious impersonation of FLOTUS during his four-day stint at Houston Improv. “It’s just word play. How Melania would say a speech or translate what she’s going to be saying in Melania words,” says Lowdown. He’s certainly found his niche. 8 p.m. March 9, 8 and 10:30 p.m. March 10, 7 and 9:30 p.m. March 11, 7:30 p.m. March 12. 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $20 to $32. — Susie Tommaney

Memory Web is the third collaborative project between Rob Smith of the University of Houston’s Aura Contemporary Ensemble and Sophia Torres of Psophonia Dance Company. This time around, the two are all systems go, with the incorporation of a seven-person dance team moving along with a robust nine-member ensemble that performs a full program of scored pieces, including works by Frederic Rzewski, Belinda Reynolds and a HyeKyung Lee world premiere. The continuous 50-minute-plus show gives listeners “a better understanding as some sonic gesture that you hear will be shown visually,” says Smith. “Conceptually, it’s based on very disturbing events of the past three years,” says Torres, artistic director. “I was trying to figure out the connective tissue of public places with people being together and not together when something life-changing occurs.” 8 p.m. March 9-11. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org. $22. — Steve Jansen

Women and men — they are practically as different as, well, night and day. That’s what prompted John Gray to write his No. 1 best-selling book, making its way from off-Broadway to Houston as a half-theater, half-stand-up show titled Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus LIVE! The one-man show pokes fun at all the typical experiences of dating, marriage and the bedroom. The sexy and fast-paced comedy will have adults laughing like little kids at all the unexpected moments that pop up in relationships. Why not make a date night of it, and perhaps carry the fun back home for a cosmic collision of a different kind? 8 p.m. March 9 and 10, 4 and 8 p.m. March 11, 2 and 6 p.m. March 12. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit thehobbycenter.org. $74. — Sam Byrd

In a twist on the traditional romance trajectory, Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of boy turned girl (Hansel/Hedwig) who falls for a dreamy G.I., then becomes scarred by both a botched surgery and his back-stabbing theft of her songs. Their lives intersect years later as she and her band tour the country while rock star Tommy Gnosis plays the big arenas. Now a cult classic, the musical (with book by John Cameron Mitchell) began its life off-Broadway before Mitchell adapted (and starred) in a 2001 film version. Now Hedheads have something to get glammed up about because the Tony Award-winning musical is coming to Houston, complete with Stephen Trask's punk, blues and rock-and-roll score, for a short run at EaDo Playhouse. Colton Berry channels his inner diva as Hedwig and Raven Troup is back-up singer and husband, Yitzhak. 8 p.m. March 9-11, 5 p.m. March 12. 2619 McKinney. For information, call 832-210-5200 or visit eadoplayhouse.com. $25. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, March 10

Save your seat, fellas — this one’s for the girls: The ladies are saddling up for their second consecutive year of Women’s Ranch Rodeo. Twelve all-female groups will compete to claim bragging rights and a coveted gold buckle in what is sometimes misconstrued as a man’s job. Cowgirls ranging from age 18 to 55 are coming from as far away as California for their shot at the title. They’ll compete in the sorting, pasture doctoring and branding events (using tools dipped in flour to leave a mark instead of a hot iron). All the activities simulate what a rancher would face on an ordinary day and help reinforce the safest and most humane ways to raise livestock. Stephanie Jones, co-president of the South Texas Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association, details her excitement. “It’s cool to know a major entity like Houston wants to see women kick butt.” Yes. We. Do! 1 p.m. March 10. NRG Arena, 1 NRG Park. For information, call 832-667-1080 or visit rodeohouston.com. Free to $10. — Sam Byrd

We're in for some trouble now. The 5th Annual Houston Burlesque Fest doubles the fun by importing not one, but two, headliners from Las Vegas. Let's give a round of applause to Kalani Kokonuts (she has a great new western "shoot 'em up" costume by Manuge et Toi) and the lovely, flaming-haired Ms. Redd ("a good woman in a bad girl body") who, along with a bevy of stars from the Ruby Revue Burlesque Show, will keep Houston audiences on the edge of their seats during this three show/two night festival. 8 and 10:30 p.m. March 10, 9:30 p.m. March 11. House of Blues Houston, 1204 Caroline. For information, call 888-402-5837 or visit houstonburlesquefest.com or houseofblues.com/houston. $27 to $100. — Susie Tommaney

The words still haunt. “i found god in myself/and i loved her/i loved her fiercely.” Written a little more than 40 years ago by Ntozake Shange, the passage is contained in the author’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. The choreopoem, a series of 20 separate poems that was backed by dance and music when it opened as a theater production on Broadway in 1976, still matters today. An exhibition curated by New York City-based creator Peter “Souleo” Wright gives a visual ode to Shange via the traveling group exhibition, “i found god in myself: 40th anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls…,” that includes work inspired by individual poems in the playwright’s groundbreaking work. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 10. Continuing 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays. March 10 through April 15. Houston Museum of African American Culture, 4807 Caroline. For information, call 713-526-1015 or visit hmaac.org. Free. — Steve Jansen

This one's a no-brainer. The biting comedy won playwright David Mamet a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984, and soon top-shelf actors (Joe Montegna, Robert Prosky, Al Pacino and Alec Baldwin) were involved in various productions of Glengarry Glen Ross over the years. Now this mercenary tale of Chicago real estate agents who try to sell swampland to unwitting buyers is finding its way to Houston, courtesy of Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. Houston audiences will see Ken Watkins, Jonathan Gonzalez, Bill Giffen, Allen Dorris, Jeff Featherston, Kurt Bilanoski, and Casey Coale suit up for the roles, and it falls to costumer Malinda L. Beckham to make it all happen. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday. March 10-18. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org or dirtdogstheatre.org. $20. — Susie Tommaney

The kinetic Wings Over Water, by Joe O'Connell and Creative Machines, gives energy to the Grand Opening of Avenida Houston this Saturday night. Take a peek inside to see Lifting Off, Houston, a large column on the south end painted by GONZO247.EXPAND
The kinetic Wings Over Water, by Joe O'Connell and Creative Machines, gives energy to the Grand Opening of Avenida Houston this Saturday night. Take a peek inside to see Lifting Off, Houston, a large column on the south end painted by GONZO247.
Photo by Micahl Wyckoff

Saturday, March 11

Update: The Grand Opening of Avenida Houston has been postponed due to inclement weather until further notice. Avenida Houston, H-Town's newest district, has its Grand Opening Saturday night. Bordered by George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Hilton Americas-Houston and Marriott Marquis, this newly-packaged venue will play host to tons of art, music and entertainment this season. Come celebrate the re-opening of the renovated GRB, ogle Joe O'Connell's kinetic Wings Over Water sculpture and Ed Wilson's Soaring in The Clouds, a 67-foot mobile of bird and cloud forms. Then get down at this outdoor party with live music by The Tontons, street performers, an aerial performance and, as if that weren't enough, a fireworks show. 2 to 9:30 p.m. March 11. 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, visit avenidahouston.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

They don’t call Houston the Bayou City for nothing. Forget concrete and traffic and paddle your way down 15 miles of waterways during the 45th Annual Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta, presented by Gillman Subaru, an adrenaline-filled jaunt that starts at San Felipe and Voss and wraps up at Sesquicentennial Park downtown. Trudi Smith, Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s director of public relations and events, describes its popularity. “This is a great race because you get to see Houston from a completely different perspective: from water level. It’s narrow, shallow and very lush. There’s wildlife like turtles, birds and fish.” The top three finishers in each category will walk away with awards, and one team will earn the Shell Styrofoam Cup for picking up the most trash along the course. Afterwards, crack open a cold one from Saint Arnold Brewing Company and enjoy a free lunch, or visit one of the food trucks while jamming to live zydeco music. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 11. Begins at 7700 San Felipe; ends at Sesquicentennial Park, 400 Texas. For information, call 713-752-0314 or visit buffalobayou.org. $25 to $60. — Sam Byrd

Trumpeter and composer Marquis Hill, first-place finisher in 2014’s Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, stands firmly at the intersection of the past and the future. Sure, the Marquis Hill Blacktet plays classics by Gigi Gryce, Horace Silver and Donald Byrd on the album, The Way We Play, but the ensemble infuses those jazz standards with its Chicago sound, mixing in spoken word and hip-hop. Hill has been experimenting with different voices of late, and we’ll see an eclectic lineup when he makes his Houston debut, courtesy of Da Camera. “On alto saxophone I’ve got Josh Johnson,” says Hill, labeling him an amazing player. “On vibraphone is Joel Ross. I met him in Chicago as well. He goes to the New School [for Jazz and Contemporary Music]. He’s tearing up the scene now, a really unique voice.” Joining them are drummer Makaya McCraven and bassist Jeremiah Hunt. Houston audiences will hear samples from Hill’s 2016 release as well as original compositions from earlier albums. 8 p.m. March 11. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com. $37.50 to $67.50. — Susie Tommaney

There’s the typical circus magic show, and then there are world-famous magicians who would make even Harry Houdini do a double take. Find the latter with The Illusionists — Live From Broadway, a group of seven artists from around the world who thrill audiences with cutting-edge tricks of this age-old craft. The show is billed as a combination of stunning acts including grand illusion, levitation, mind reading, disappearance and the always-intriguing water torture escape. Projection screens and 360-degree views help make the audience members feel they’re right next to the action. “It’s a magic show for people who love magic shows and an even better show for people who hate magic shows,” says performer Dan Sperry, a.k.a. The Anti-Conjurer. “It’s like the MTV Video Music Awards but better because we don’t have Miley Cyrus.” 4 and 7:30 p.m. March 11. Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net. $45 to $100. — Sam Byrd

Native Houstonian and triple threat (writer, director, producer) Je'Caryous Johnson is on the fast-track with his newest stage play and sequel, Married But Single Too. Johnson continues the Married But Single saga – which played to sold out crowds in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit – bringing back favorite characters Pimpin' Pete, Sharon Wilson, Julian and bestie Tina Clark. We've got all the ingredients for a classic soap: Sharon Wilson thought her problems were over when she married Julian, but soon finds her honeymoon delayed and her relationship on the rocks with rumors of his stepping out. Sharon puts her foot down and, while her husband tries to decide what to do, old flame Jackson walks in the door. This story is hot, hot, hot and it's coming to Houston audiences for three nights of sizzling romance. 8 p.m. March 10, 4 and 8 p.m. March 11, 3:30 and 7 p.m. March 12. The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 800-745-3000 or visit jecaryous.com. $70 to $74. — Susie Tommaney

Instead of four weddings and a funeral, Musiqa's presentation of American Trios! brings us a quartet of works for three performers plus a pair of prize-winning space-inspired shorts from Houston Cinema Arts Society's Cinespace competition. The program includes the world premiere of Horn Trio by Marcus Maroney (commissioned by Musiqa); a trio for horn, piano and violin by John Harbison (Twilight Music); and piano trios by Ellen Taafe Swilich (Piano Trio) and Dan Visconti (Lonesome Roads), a hard-driving fusion of rock and folk music. Audience members also get to view Cinespace's first prize winner, 1950DA, a short directed by Sébastian Tulard; as well as second prize winner, Music of the Spheres, directed by Joe Bougher and Kohl Threlkeld. 7:30 p.m. March 11. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org or musiqahouston.org. $30 to $50. — Susie Tommaney

If you've found yourself mesmerized by the pomp, circumstance and pageantry of PBS's Masterpiece show, Victoria, with all of the lavish furnishings and decor, then don't miss this new exhibit at Rienzi, the house museum for European decorative arts owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Decorative Arts in the Age of Victoria" gives us a look at objects during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) that reflect the desire to honor history while also embracing modern advances in technology. Objects on view include porcelain, glass, jewelry, miniatures (which we love), ornate wallpaper and furniture. Rienzi is the former home of philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III and several of their gifts to the MFAH appear in this exhibit: There's a porcelain plate and urn, a cut glass footed bowl and a magnificent chest of drawers fashioned with walnut and marble. Docent-led tours are offered at 10 and 11 a.m. and at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. March 11. Continuing 10 and 11 a.m. and 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30 and 4 p.m. Sundays. March 11-July 30. 1406 Kirby. For information, visit mfah.org/rienziexhibitions. Free to $8. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, March 12

The rodeo is getting drop-dead fabulous, thanks to Out at the Rodeo, designed for the LGBT community and its allies to congregate and enjoy Houston’s annual shebang. Event co-chair Doug Mason says the group originated from humble beginnings. “When I moved to Houston, I heard about the rodeo. I asked about the LGBT day, and people looked at me like I was crazy, so we put together a casual event.” Participation is easy: Order an Out at the Rodeo T-shirt in advance and sport it at the festivities; sales benefit AIDS Foundation Houston. If you see someone else wearing the same shirt, you know you’re both part of the same group. The party starts at noon at the Champion Wine Garden, but people can arrive at their leisure and find the group via Twitter updates (#OATR2017) or on Facebook Live. Plus, if you purchased tickets to The Chainsmokers concert, watch it from the elite Committeeman’s Lounge. Noon to midnight March 12. NRG Park, 1 NRG Park. For information, visit outattherodeo.com. $10 to $300. — Sam Byrd

Steeped in tradition, the annual River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail is back for its 82nd show, this time with the theme of "Blooms of Spring in Full Swing." The tour includes stops at four of the lush estates in River Oaks (just don't try to hire away their gardeners), plus visits to the oh-so-curated Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, Rienzi (a house/museum of European decorative arts under the umbrella of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) and the garden club's historic Forum of Civics building. In case you haven't noticed, we've had an unseasonably mild winter this year, which means the azaleas will be busting out all over. Be sure to catch the free trolleys running up and down River Oaks Boulevard and to/fro Bayou Bend, plus there's a 2 p.m. floral demonstration at the Forum at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 10-12. River Oaks Garden Club, 2503 Westheimer. For information, visit riveroaksgardenclub.org. $10 to $25. — Susie Tommaney

Forget iPads, iPhones and iWhatevers. This spring it's time to eschew the digital and embrace the textural robes and panels in "Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats." The exhibit – coming to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – contains almost 50 garments for men and women produced in the 1800s in the weaving centers of Uzbekistan, Bukhara, Samarkand and the Fergana Valley. These colorful dresses, trousers and wall-hangings are not for wallflowers; their eye-catching designs and dazzling colors guarantee any wearer will be top peacock. The curators have supplemented the exhibit with historical photographs that help tell the story of these bold garments worn by all classes and religions in marketplaces, private homes and places of worship and ceremony. The "ikat" technique is one of the most difficult to execute – various sections of the yarn are treated to resist the dye bath – and it takes meticulous planning (and mad math skills) to execute the highly complicated and multicolored compositions. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. March 12 through June 4. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit mfah.org. Free to $15. — Susie Tommaney

Monday, March 13

Our present-day fascination with combat sports hearkens back to the Roman Empire when as many as 80,000 bloodthirsty spectators would gather to watch the wild beasts and gladiatorial games. While the bribe of bread and circuses wouldn’t work today — we can’t be so easily distracted that we would ever overlook what’s happening in Washington — it’s hard to ignore the 2004 discovery of the world’s best-preserved (and mostly decapitated) gladiator burial ground in northern England. A new exhibit coming to The Houston Museum of Natural Science, “Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum,” offers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of those ancient warriors through original armor, archaeological objects, 3-D modeling of the Colosseum and an all-hands-on-deck lecture on April 4 about those decapitated remains, complete with combat demos, Roman bites and a photo booth with gladiator gear ($18 to $24). 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 13. Continuing 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. March 13 through September 14. 5555 Hermann Park. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit hmns.org. $12 to $30. — Susie Tommaney

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