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21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Selfies on the Green & Stagecoach Rides

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Tuesday, November 22

Get out your hashtags, because it's another selfie alert over at Discovery Green. One of our favorite downtown green spaces is bringing in another blockbuster public art installation this winter, but it's really a two-for-one special. Both Firmament and Enchanted Promenade debut on November 22, and they're both show-stoppers. Burning Man artist Christopher Schardt is the genius behind Firmament; the installation marks his Texas debut and features a 52-foot wide canopy of 21,600 LED lights. At Burning Man, viewers congregated under the psychedelic tent with its 21-inch LED "disco" ball. It will be the national debut for French art collective TILT when they install the giant (we're talking more than 19 feet in height) color-changing peony bouquets that form Enchanted Promenade. Dusk until 11 p.m. daily. Firmament runs through January 8 and Enchanted Promenade runs through mid-February. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-400-7336 or visit discoverygreen.com. Free. — Susie Tommaney

We’re coming to that time of year when theaters around the country, including the Alley, mount sparkling productions of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. In the past 12 years, Alley company member Chris Hutchison says he’s been in it 11 times. Multiply that by about 50 performances a year and you’re up to 550 times onstage in professional performances running through the same script. “Once you’re in front of the audience, you see people who are seeing it for the first time so you reinvest yourself in it,” he says. For this year’s A Christmas Carol — A Ghost Story of Christmas, Hutchison is back as Bob Cratchit, the lowly clerk who works for Ebenezer Scrooge and tries to keep his family afloat. The money that the Alley makes from putting on the classic work helps a lot. “It enables us to do so many of the other things we do during the course of the year that are not as traditional,” Hutchison says. But there’s also its intrinsic value, he adds. “It’s great literature. It’s a great story. The holidays beg for traditions, especially with the way the world is changing.” Here’s your chance to keep a good one going. 7:30 p.m. November 22. Continuing 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and November 25, December 21, 23, 26-27 and 29; 7:30 p.m. November 22 and December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 20, 22 and 28. November 19 through December 29. 615 Texas. For information call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org. $30-$70. — Margaret Downing

Lawndale Art Center, in a throwback to that early '80s club-scene atmosphere under James Surls, is again welcoming experimental, alternative works and performances. Next up is Lawndale Live, an anything-can-happen, live show filmed in front of a studio audience and hosted by Maurice Duhon, Jr. (we know him as Cornbreadd, the rapping front man of Houston Press Music Award-winner Tha Fucking Transmissions). Each week musical director Jawwaad serves up a different musical guest; for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving hear beats by DJ Good Grief. Guests this season include Emily Peacock, Patrick Renner, GONZO247 and former Mayor Annise Parker. Doors open at 6 p.m. November 22; show runs from 7 to 7:45 p.m. Continuing 7 p.m. Tuesdays and December 22. Through December 22. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit lawndaleartcenter.org. Free. — Susie Tommaney

Wednesday, November 23

Secretariat. Seabiscuit. Mr. Ed. A horse is a horse, of course, but none are as majestic as the Budweiser Clydesdales. These beauties are traveling to Houston for a visit with fans of the equestrian community — as well as lovers of beer. There’s no hoofing around it, these ponies are the glory of their breed, and “neigh”-sayers can’t argue. Say “hay” during their short-lived stop at Houston’s own Budweiser brewery while they’re in town for the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. “The Clydesdales are part of the heritage and tradition. They’re a part of the quality, of Budweiser,” says Aaron West, tour center manager. Wednesday’s lineup includes stable viewing throughout the day, plus photo ops from 1 to 3 p.m. Come back on November 25 and 26 for hitching and some of H-Town’s best food trucks. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. November 23. Continuing November 21-22 and 25-26. 775 Gellhorn. For information, call 713-678-3060 or visit budweisertours.com. Free to $25. Sam Byrd

We've all seen treasure hunters on the beach, slowly waving their metal detectors in hopes of finding a lost watch, maybe a few coins or even something more valuable. For one French farmer in the early 19th century, this dream became a reality, though he struck a Roman tile with his plowshare instead of a newfangled gadget. Known as the trésor de Berthouville, the haul had been buried since the late second or early third century. The 93 objects (bowls, cups, jugs and pair of statuettes) were later studied and conserved by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Cabinet des Médailles. For the touring exhibit, "Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville," the objects are displayed along with precious gemstones, glass, jewelry and other Roman luxury items. Houston is the last stop on the tour before the Roman treasures are returned to France next year. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. November 23. Continuing 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. Through February 5. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit mfah.org. Free to $15. — Susie Tommaney

Thursday, November 24

The 67th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is strutting through downtown Houston with Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles and Simone Manuel — both with Houston-area roots — serving as grand marshals. The procession of marching bands, high-flying balloons and new floats kicks off at Smith at Lamar, travels north to Walker, east to Milam, south to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, west to Smith, and north to end at Smith and Dallas. This is the first year that organizers have added a sing-along; former The Voice competitor and Baytown resident Chris Crump kicks off the parade at 8:45 a.m., leading the crowd in singing “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Referencing his role, Crump says, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to give back to a city I love.” The lyrics are available on the parade website, so sing it loud in person or while watching on KHOU. 8:45 a.m. November 24. Downtown Houston. For information, visit houstonthanksgivingparade.org. — Free. Sam Byrd

In a year when Mr. and Mrs. Me Me Me (née Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) dominated pretty much everything, volunteering (which is always the best) seems especially apropos for the 2016 holidays. The 38th Annual Thanksgiving Big Super Feast, which is put together by the City Wide Club of Clubs, allows the less fortunate a chance to take home a turkey, a ham, beans, mac and cheese, and additional food items as well as receive other basic services, such as a haircut or basic medical care. At press time one of the volunteer slots was already booked up; if the shift board is full by the time you’re reading this, make a note in your 2017 calendar to sign up early for the yearly event. Donations of food, clothes and cash are always welcomed. 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (shift is full) and 12:30 to 4 p.m. November 24. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 713-752-2582 or visit citywideclub.com. Free. — Steve Jansen

If you’re dreading the tryptophan-induced coma that comes around after you gorge on Thanksgiving supper, then why not make a pre-emptive strike and start the day with a little exercise? The 2016 TXU Energy Houston Turkey Trot fits the bill, with more than 15,000 participants walking and running through the Galleria area that morning. “People get excited and show up in costume. You can see anything from turkeys, Santa Clauses, Mrs. Santa Claus,” says Frida Villalobos, director of communications for presenter Neighborhood Centers. There’s a 7:20 a.m. wheelchair start, followed by the Phillips 66 10K at 7:30, the Humana 5K at 8 and the popular Kids Run at 9. “People come out, do the race and then go home; [they’re] getting their workout out of the way. There’s a family festival right after.” Same-day registration is available, but Villalobos suggests arriving early to find a parking spot because of road closures. The event helps families served by the nonprofit — which connects people with resources and provides immigration services — something that could become even more important during the next presidential term. 7 a.m. to noon November 24. 4925 Westheimer. For information, visit turkeytrot.neighborhood-centers.org. $15 to $42. — Susie Tommaney

Friday, November 25

Houston Ballet is once again presenting The Nutcracker, the magical holiday ballet of a young girl’s dreams and dolls and toys coming to life — but this year with a significant difference. Principal Dancer Melody Mennite takes on the role once again but has been practicing new steps in the much-anticipated Stanton Welch-choreographed version that is premiering at the Wortham Theater Center. Clara retains her bright and bubbly character equipped with a healthy imagination, as always, Mennite says. But more than just steps has been changed. “She has more of an arc in her character, and I think that she grows with the ballet as the story moves forward. She’s very much a part of propelling it forward. She’s definitely not a sideliner in this version,” Mennite says. “I don’t think it’s just a ballet. It’s become a family tradition for a lot of people.” 7:30 p.m. November 25. Continuing 7:30 p.m. December 9, 13-15; 2 and 7:30 p.m. November 26-27 and December 3-4, 10-11, 16-18, 20-23, 26-27; 2 p.m. December 24. 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $39 to $154. — Margaret Downing

Tradition abounds as Turkey Day approaches, but nothing delivers a lesson in history like the Houston Symphony’s A Mozart Thanksgiving, which includes Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major and Symphony No. 38, Prague. The production comes with a twist for modern audiences. “I am both the conductor and [the] piano soloist,” says guest conductor Jeffrey Kahane. “People are amazed to see someone playing and conducting at the same time. This is how music in the 18th century was done. The soloist and conductor were the same person until the early part of the 19th century.” Talk about the ultimate Throwback Thursday. After all the tryptophan, football games and leftovers have concluded, relieve your food hangover and give thanks for Mozart’s most recognized music. 8 p.m. November 25 and 26 and 2:30 p.m. November 27. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $136. — Sam Byrd

“It’s a mix of all the stuff that everybody loves every weekend, but with a good sprinkling of holiday magic on top,” says Texas Renaissance Festival’s Travis Bryant about Celtic Christmas, RenFest’s Christmas-themed final weekend. Besides the RenFest staples — like jousting, costume contests and giant turkey legs — the three-day extravaganza includes a pumpkin pie-eating contest and opportunities to take photos with Father and Mother Christmas and their elfish court. Plus, if you want to get a head start on holiday shopping, the RenFest has hundreds of shops to check out. Bryant adds, “After this weekend, the village goes back to sleep for a year. If you haven’t had a chance to experience everything that makes us the No. 1 cultural festival in the nation, you better do it now.” 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. November 25, 26 and 27. 21778 Farm to Market 1774, Todd Mission. For information, call 800-458-3435 or visit texrenfest.com. $15 to $30. — Carter Sherman

Saturday, November 26

It's time to step away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and turn the calendar back to a simpler time and place. The historic Fanthorp Inn in Anderson, Texas, has been brought back to the way it looked in the 1850s (it took ten years of research and restoration) and is kicking off the holiday season with Twilight Firelight. Visitors can ride an authentic replica of an 1850 Concord stagecoach, chat with living history characters in costume and enjoy period music by candlelight. If you're planning on road-tripping, nearby attractions include Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site (considered to be the birthplace of Texas), Huntsville State Park and Lake Somerville State Park and Trailway. 4:30 to 7 p.m. November 26. Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site, 579 South Main, Anderson. For information, call 936-873-2633 or visit tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/fanthorp-inn. $5 to $10 (suggested donation). — Susie Tommaney

Carroll Shelby, the racing driver who created the AC Cobra, also designed the Mustang-based GT350. One of the 1966 models was later converted into a race car and eventually sold to racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, arguably England’s greatest driver. “He kept it for several years, raced it all over the world, and told people it was his most favorite racing car, which is saying something considering he’s driven the Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Maserati and Jaguar,” says Ken Dougherty, owner of Auto Collectors Garage. “The other versions of this car have all sold for close to a million dollars and they didn’t have two famous names attached.” Dougherty says the news is all over Europe that the Sir Stirling Moss Shelby GT350 Mustang is on the block at the Dan Kruse Classics auto auction, and he’s getting a lot of calls about this one. When Shelby, Moss and the GT350 made an appearance at 2007’s Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, Dougherty says, the crowds were way higher than normal. “They were lined up all the way out to NASA Road 1 [for autographs].” 1 p.m. November 25 and 11 a.m. November 26. AutoRama, George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 866-495-8111 or visit dankruseclassics.com. Free to $18. — Susie Tommaney

FrenetiCore has caught the uncatchable catch: a multicolored unicorn. The company’s newest show, the Rainbow Unicorn Cabaret, celebrates love, life and community through LGBT-based performance art, culminating in a midnight dance after-party on the main stage. “Houston has drag shows, burlesque shows and film festivals, but we don’t have an all-in-one queer-specific variety show, and that’s what we’re going for,” says curator and performer Koomah. The list of special performers is eclectic: Get ready for sketch comedy mini-infomercials from Sondee (like Dick Dynasty hawking aluminum foil hats); Miss Claire, the Singing Ballerina Clown; and Jeklyn Hyde, a transgender burlesque performer from New Orleans. Also taking the stage as the host is 2014 Houston Press MasterMind award winner and choreographer jhon r. stronks’s alter ego, Miss Understood. Already booked this week? Save the date because they’re doing it again Christmas Eve. 11 p.m. November 26 and December 24. The Pilot on Navigation, 5102 Navigation. For information, visit freneticore.net. $10. — Sam Byrd

Mercury’s imaginative classical-music programming continues with its intimate Neighborhood Series: A Mexican Baroque Christmas, a presentation of 17th-century music from the cathedrals of Mexico City and Puebla. “It is a more unusual concert for us because it is a unique ensemble,” says Mercury’s Katie DeVore. The small ensemble (Hannah Celeste Lu, Cecilia Duarte, Mark Thomas, Andrew Gilstrap, baroque guitarist Michael Leopold and percussionist Jesus Pacheco), together with a chamber group, are presenting works by Mexican baroque composers Antonio de Salazar, Santiago de Murcia and Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla. “Though the music is baroque, it is more of an outlier from the traditional Western canon,” says DeVore. 7 p.m. November 26. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. The concert also is offered at 7 p.m. November 27, 8 p.m. December 1 and 2:30 p.m. December 3 at neighborhood venues. For information, call 713-533-0080 or visit mercuryhouston.org. $19 to $35. — Steve Jansen

This one’s a doozy for lovers of side-splitting laughter and nonconformist theater. Even though it’s the ninth Spontaneous Smattering, local playwright Bryan Maynard says this year’s The Whole Nine Yards isn’t getting any easier. “I like to call this ‘contained chaos,’” Maynard says. “On Friday night, all of the chosen writers gather together and randomly draw genres and a cast of actors. At that point, the writers are released to go off and create a brand-new ten-minute play — overnight.” The actors and directors have just the day to find props and costumes, rehearse and get ready for Saturday night’s performances. The annual fund-raiser for Cone Man Running Productions and The Landing Theatre Company benefits the Houston Food Bank (each canned or nonperishable food item knocks a dollar off the ticket price; limit five), and they are dedicating this year’s show to the late Scott Holmes. 7 and 9:45 p.m. November 26. The Landing Theatre, 1119 Providence. For information, call 281-972-5897 or visit conemanrunning.com. $18. — Vic Shuttee

It’s looking like a Dukes of Hazzard reunion over at this weekend’s Houston AutoRama 2016, with special appearances by Catherine Bach, Tom Wopat and — of course — the 1969 Dodge Charger known as The General Lee. They’ll be there November 25 and 26 from 1 to 5 p.m., and other celebs include WWE superstar Seth Rollins (November 25 only) and Unique Rides’ Will Castro (November 27 only). Check out the traditional rods, customs and bobbers at Ol’ Skool Rodz, or the late-model, classic, lifted and mini trucks in the Slam’d Magazine Shootout. “These are on air suspensions. They compete for the Editor’s Choice award,” says Pete Toundas, with presenter Championship Auto Shows, Inc. “[Those are] very, very low to the ground.” 3 to 8 p.m. November 24, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. November 25, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. November 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. November 27. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, call 248-373-1700 or visit autorama.com. Free to $18. — Susie Tommaney

Sunday, November 27

In college the trio was nicknamed “Holy Holy Holy” because they wanted to pursue the priesthood. They fulfilled those dreams but never stopped singing. Now the classical music group The Priests — Fathers Eugene O’Hagan, younger brother Martin O’Hagan and David Delargy — are well-known in Ireland and the United Kingdom, where they’ve been busy promoting the release of their fifth album, Alleluia. It seems we might have to wait for 2017’s Hollywood flick about their career trajectory before they become mainstream in the States. A Washington, D.C.-based post-punk rock band, who similarly call themselves Priests, garnered much attention recently when images of the Roman Catholic priests ended up on their gig promos. “Pure mistake. The Lord likes a bit of a laugh himself from time to time, injects a little bit of mirth,” says Father Eugene. “People were asking, ‘When will we see you in leather and tattoos?’” Their three-day U.S. tour stops in Spring and Galveston; it’s their first time back in Texas since 2013. O’Hagan says they’ll be singing classics (“Ave Maria,” Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”) as well as a few surprises — “our version of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’” and the haunting “Nearer My God to Thee.” They live near Belfast, famous for the dockyards where the RMS Titanic was built, and will always associate the hymn with the fated passengers who perished. 8 p.m. November 26. Cypress Creek Foundation for the Arts, The Centrum, 6823 Cypresswood Drive, Spring. For information, call 281-440-4850 or visit cypresscreekface.org. $35 to $65. 7 p.m. November 27. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, call 800-821-1894 or visit thegrand.com. $22.50 to $94. — Susie Tommaney

Before Beyoncé, before Britney, there was the original Queen B: Barbra. The living legend and velvet-voiced chanteuse is gracing Houstonians with her first-ever appearance in our city for a tour de force. For An Evening with Barbra Streisand, Babs is performing hits from each decade plus songs from her new album, ENCORE: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, celebrating a career of unparalleled creative achievement. Just how talented is Ms. Streisand? She is an EGOT — meaning she joins a club of fewer than 20 people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award — the grand slam of entertainment. She doesn’t have to worry about finding enough music to fill the time with that impressive catalog: This best-selling female recording artist has recorded 52 gold, 31 platinum and 13 multiplatinum albums in her career. 8 p.m. November 27. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. For information, call 866-446-8849 or visit houstontoyotacenter.com. $99 to $510. — Sam Byrd

Fathom Events always supersizes its flicks with bonus footage, guest appearances or some other sort of lagniappe. This screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's features commentary from Turner Classic Movies host Tiffany Vasquez; she'll be opining about what makes Holly Golightly so charming, though we're pretty sure Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of the effervescent party girl is responsible for much of that appeal. This 1961 classic garnered two Academy Awards® and is co-presented by Fathom, Turner and Paramount Pictures. The George Axelrod screenplay was based on the novella by Truman Capote, and who better to understand social climbers and socialites in mid-century Manhattan than the eclectic novelist who traveled in social circles with literary greats and Hollywood and theatrical luminaries. 2 and 7 p.m. November 27 and 30, Edwards Houston Marq*E Stadium 23 and IMAX, 7600 Katy Freeway. Price varies by location; visit fathomevents.com for participating venues. $13.53. — Susie Tommaney

Monday, November 28

In these uncertain times, it can be hard to truly speak your mind, but not for Henry Rollins. The writer-journalist-comedian-musician is bringing his Spoken Word Tour to the House of Blues Houston for “a talking show.” The performer got his start with the legendary hardcore punk band Black Flag, with whom he toured until the late ’80s, and Rollins says he always tries to find artistic inspiration in personal tragedy. “I don’t know what else you would do when things are bad,” he says. “You can’t let them run you over. The aim is always to overcome.” Ever since Black Flag dissolved, Rollins says, the thrill of his life remains live performance. “I am performance driven,” the activist shares. “I’ve never had any form of stage fright. I like what I do and have a great affection for my audience — I like to serve them. I never dial in a show. Every night, I go out and try to get it right.” 7 p.m. November 28. 1204 Caroline. For information, call 888-402-5837 or visit houseofblues.com/houston. $35 to $45. — Vic Shuttee

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