Things To Do

Best Bets: Beer, Black Lights, and Cat Videos

The Menil Collection and Aurora Picture Show present Earthworks films this weekend in conjunction with the exhibit "Dream Monuments: Drawing in the 1960s and 1970s" pictured here.
The Menil Collection and Aurora Picture Show present Earthworks films this weekend in conjunction with the exhibit "Dream Monuments: Drawing in the 1960s and 1970s" pictured here. Photo by Paul Hester
You don't a reason to enjoy the events on this week's list of best bets, but tomorrow, August 27, is National Just Because Day. So enjoy any and all of the cat videos, musical acts, art works, and beer that you find below just because and, if anyone asks, tell them you’re celebrating a holiday.

Whether you caught them at a club performance pre-pandemic, saw their 360-degree socially distanced take on Tommy James and the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now,” or ran up the view count on their Gallery Furniture-set entry for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest back in June, chances are that if you’re a local, you know Swimwear Department. The band – known for their dance-ready blend of “surf rock, ’50s pop and classic Motown” – will close out the Friday Night Live Concerts series at Discovery Green this Friday, August 27 along with opener Henry Invisible. The Austin-based, one-man funk band will take the stage at 7:30 p.m., with Swimwear Department going on at 8:30 p.m. Get there early to pick out a good socially distanced spot to enjoy the free concert.

Black lights are for more than scanning couches, beds, and carpets for "substances." For example, they can be used for art, which is exactly what will be happening over at Hardy & Nance Studios this Friday, August 27, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, August 28 at 5 p.m. when Insomnia Gallery presents Near Dark 2: Black Light Art Show. Insomnia has put out the call to local artists to create their best black light sensitive works for the first time since 2019, and you can get in on the fluorescence by throwing on some neon and making your way down to the all-ages-welcome, free show. Not for nothing, Eureka Heights Brew Co. will also be on hand to provide drinks.

Earthworks (or Land Art, or Earth Art) refer to “art that is made by shaping the land itself or by making forms in the land using natural materials like rocks or tree branches.” It was popularized in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and yes, it includes works that bring the land indoors, too. To get a better idea, check out Land Mark Land Scape over at the Menil Collection this Friday, August 27, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The outdoor screening, co-presented by the Menil and Aurora Picture Show, will feature films about the artists of the Earthworks movement, then and now. The program is free, seating is limited (so bring a blanket for the lawn), and visit the inspiration for the evening, the Menil Drawing Institute’s exhibition "Dream Monuments: Drawings in the 1960s and 1970s," on view through September 19.
As a society, the last thing we need is a reason to binge-watch cat videos, but if you want one, here it goes: People who watch cat videos “reported feeling significantly happier, more content and more energized after watching the video—as well as less anxious, less annoyed and less sad.” On Saturday, August 28, at 4:20 p.m. and Sunday, August 29, at 2 and 4:05 p.m., you can get your feline fill during CatVideoFest 2021 at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The festival, COVID-cancelled last year, returns this year with another compilation of all the best cat videos for your amusement. Even better, proceeds from the festival go to local cat charities and animal welfare organizations. You can purchase tickets here for $8.50
Beer (a whole lot of beer) awaits you at Brewsology Beer Fest on Saturday, August 28, from 7 to 11 p.m. Almost five dozen local craft breweries and cideries – including local favorites like Saint Arnold, Karbach Brewing Co., and 8th Wonder Brewery – will converge at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for a boozy field trip. It should go without saying, but all guests must be 21 and over. General admission, which includes drink samples and museum access, is available for $50, but for $65 you can nab early admission for an extra hour and specialty beers. Or, for the big spenders, you can go VIP for $100 and get the extra hour, specialty beers, a catered buffet, and souvenir. (You can also buy a ticket at the door for $20 cash.)

Head out to Moonstruck Drive-In on Saturday, August 28, at 8 p.m. for the premiere of director Isaac Yowman's short documentary Memory Builds the Monument, which tells a story about the lives of African Americans in Houston during the mid-20th century through the lens of music – specifically the music played at Club Matinee in the Fifth Ward. Louis Dickerson’s club welcomed legendary artists like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and is now remembered as “one of the most influential venues for blues musicians in the fifties and sixties.” The event, hosted by the 5th Ward Cultural Arts District (5th Ward CAD), is free and open to the public. You can register here, and be sure to hang around after the screening for a Q&A with the artists.

This year, 2021, marks the 26th anniversary of the death of the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Though seeing Selena in concert is no longer possible, the next best thing is coming to Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday, August 28, at 8:30 p.m. Los Chicos Del 512: The Selena Experience is “the closest you can get to live a Selena concert” according to Ricardo Madrid, the tribute band’s music director. Seated tickets to the free show – which is sure to include classic songs like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Dreaming of You” – go live at 9 a.m. on August 26 here, or you can head to the un-ticketed seating on the Hill with a blanket or lawn chair. You can also watch live from home on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel, or Facebook page.

On Monday, August 30, at 7 p.m. Pulitzer Prize winner Rita Dove, America’s first Black poet laureate, will launch the 2021/2022 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series with a brief reading from her first book in 12 years, Playlist for the Apocalypse, and conversation with fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown. The poetry collection, which Dove has said “has a kind of mixtape sense to it,” is “by turns delicate, witty and audacious,” and the first time Dove has publicly acknowledged her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Tickets to view the livestream, held via Inprint’s virtual studio, can be purchased for $5 here. You can also buy a discounted book (via Brazos Bookstore), view the entire series lineup, and even pick up a season ticket for them all.
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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.