Things To Do

Best Bets: Tanabata, Lady Grey, and Xanadu

Last chance to catch Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill over at Stages.
Last chance to catch Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill over at Stages. Photo by Josh Morrison
On this week’s list of best bets, we’ve got a family-friendly festival based on a Japanese legend, Shakespeare on the big (outdoor) screen, and an ‘80s film you either love or hate. Check out the list below to find something to enjoy this coming week from either the comfort of your living room or a trip out. Just remember to mask up if you’re heading out to have a good time.

Last call: Stages will close their run of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill this weekend. The final in-person shows are all sold out, but you can still pick up a ticket to the livestreamed performances before the last show on August 8. Don’t miss you chance to see Lanie Robertson’s “elegiac lament” for Billie Holiday, which stars “beguiling avatar” DeQuina Moore as Holiday, complete with “the off-beat phrasing, that whiskey-infused rasp, that throaty vibrato which are Holiday's signature style.” Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can buy a ticket to view a livestream for $25 here.
Today, August 5, Mildred’s Umbrella opens their final digital project of the 2021-2022 season, Will Eno’s Lady Grey (in ever lower light). In the play, “a mesmerizingly discursive monologue” with a structure “hard to describe,” you’ll find “Eno's wry interrogation of the meaning of theatrical representation” and, if you’re an Eno fan, a work that is both similar and different to his breakthrough, Thom Pain (based on nothing). The Greg Dean-directed production, starring Sally Burtenshaw, was performed on staged and filmed to stream, which it will do until August 13. You can register to view Lady Grey (in ever lower light) here, and note that tickets are free or pay-what-you-can (donations appreciated).

Also happening tonight, August 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. over at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is the Closing Celebration for "Turn On, Tune In, Tap Out," an exhibition organized by CAMH's Teen Council. The group exhibit features works created by more than two dozen local teen artists in response to the pandemic-required shift to virtual space last year. During the closing celebration, you can hear from select artists participating in the exhibit, as well as enjoy music from DJ mLe surrounded by décor from Smash and Pull Piñata, jump into a vaporwave-inspired photo booth, and try your hand at a little button-making. Attendance is free and you can find more information here.
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to William Shakespeare? Of course not, which is why you’re going to want to catch an evening with the Bard during Shakespeare Night at the Movies at Miller Outdoor Theatre before it’s too late. Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF) will present the final three films of the series this weekend: the James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland-led version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 5, Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing on August 6, and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet on August 7. Before each film, HSF Executive Director Dr. Rob Shimko will speak on the film at 7:40 p.m. with the screenings following at 8:30 p.m. Free covered seating tickets will be made available here two days prior to each screening, or you can grab a blanket or lawn chair and head for the ticketless pod seating on the Hill.

Yes, the start of another school year is right around the corner, but may we suggest a family-friendly good time to squeeze in before you and the kiddos get back to the grind. On Saturday, August 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Children’s Museum Houston and the Consulate General of Japan in Houston are putting on the Make a Wish! “Tanabata” Japanese Star Festival. Celebrate a Japanese legend about two star-crossed lovers who can only meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month with Japanese storytelling, origami, and tanzaku, which involves making a wish and hanging it on a bamboo tree. You can enjoy the festival by purchasing a general admission ticket to the museum here. It’s $12 per person and $11 for seniors 65 and over, with children under one and museum members getting in free.
Remember that “grand studio folly” that valiantly tried to “mesh the comforting sensibility of 1940s Hollywood musicals to the fast-expiring disco mania of the 1970s”? Yep, we’re talking about Xanadu, the “overstuffed time capsule of a half-dozen different eras” starring Olivia Newton-John. The 1980 film has gone on to cultivate quite the cult following for its proto-MTV style and if you’re one of those lovers of the campy spectacle, Alamo Drafthouse is here for you. On Tuesday, August 10, at 7:30 p.m. they’re throwing a movie party – the Xanadu Glow-Along. For a $13 ticket, which you can purchase here, you can enjoy the film on the big screen with likeminded fans and yes, Alamo Drafthouse will be providing all the glowy accoutrements you’ll need.
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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.