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Best Bets: 18 Birthdays, Orphea, and A Friday Night Concert

Houston's Got Bollywood returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday with Adventures in Motion Pictures.
Houston's Got Bollywood returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday with Adventures in Motion Pictures.
Photo by Navin Mediwala
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If you haven’t noticed through all the rain, it’s summer. And tomorrow, July 23, is Hot Enough For Ya Day, a day specially designed to acknowledge the heat and address it however you see fit. We suggest checking out some of our best bets, many of which you can enjoy from the air-conditioned comfort of your living room. But don’t worry, there are some outdoor activities for those brave souls that want to tempt the Houston weather gods.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is always the place to be on Thursdays, when general admission is free, the museum stays open late (until 9 p.m.), and parking is free after 5 p.m. (You can also always enhance the experience by buying entry into one of the museum’s special ticketed exhibits, like “Impressionism to Modernism: Monet to Matisse,” which opened at the end of June.)

But this Thursday, July 22, from 6 to 9 p.m., you’ll definitely want to check out Museum Arcade, “pocket programs” you can enjoy with your phone and headphones or earbuds. The good folks over at the MFAH recruited four playwrights from Scriptwriters Houston to create five-minute-long audio plays based on their visits to the museum’s Kinder Building. To listen to what they created, just scan the QR codes around the Kinder Building. You can reserve your free, advance-timed ticket here.

In 1989, choreographer Bill T. Jones premiered his most famous work, “D-Man in the Waters,” a ballet “created from the center of the maelstrom” of the AIDS epidemic. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is currently presenting a documentary about the work titled Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and “D-Man in the Waters” as part of their Virtual Cinema programming. Directed by cinematographer Tom Hurwitz and Rosalynde LeBlanc, a former dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, the film “gives a moving précis” of the work-life collaboration between Jones and company co-founder Arnie Zane, and “the decisions Jones made in the aftermath of Zane’s death” from AIDS. “D-Man in the Waters” was one of those decisions. You can purchase a five-day pass to view the film for $12 here.

The A.D. Players announced their 2021-2022 post-pandemic season last month, but you don’t have to wait until October to enjoy their work. On Friday, July 23, A.D. Players will open their latest virtual offering, playwright Jayme McGhan’s 18 Birthdays. The play was commissioned from McGhan, whose Apollo 8 you may have caught on the virtual stage this past year (and if you did, don’t worry, it will get its official debut this coming spring). You can purchase a $35 ticket to stream the play, starring Kevin and Jennifer Dean as a couple adopting a child, here. 18 Birthdays will be available to stream any time through August 6.

The story of Orpheus and his (failed) journey to the underworld to retrieve his wife Eurydice is fairly well known, but you can see a new take on the old story when Houston Cinema Arts Society and Goethe Pop Up Houston open a free, week-long run of Orphea on July 23. The film, co-directed by Alexander Kluge and Filipino artist Khavn, is “an explosive rock opera which reinterprets the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a socio-political, modern and gender-conscious manner” that includes the “Philippine slums, immortality projects in the wake of the Russian Revolution, afterlife research in Silicon Valley, [and] migration movements in Europe.Orphea will be available to stream through July 29 and you can register here.

Funk-soul fusionistsBayou City Funk will take the stage at Discovery Green on Friday, July 23, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for the Friday Night Live Concerts series. Joining Bayou City Funk for the free concert will be Howard and The Nosebleeds, who the Houston Press said released “one of the most original takes on modern psych rock music” with their debut album, Get Psychic! Social distancing for the outdoor concert is encouraged, and if you can’t make it out (or if you can and just can’t get enough live music), Swimwear Department will close out the Friday Night Live Concerts series on August 27.

In the late 1970s, James Taylor was “undeniably one of the biggest rock stars on the planet,” celebrity he used to raise awareness for Sheep Meadow, a 15-acre area of New York’s Central Park in desperate need of restoration. The result was a concert in the park that officials said drew “an eye-popping 250,000 people.” On Friday, July 23, at 8:30 p.m. Lee Lessack and Johnny Rodgers will recreate a little bit of the magic of that night, including songs like “Carolina in My Mind” and “Sweet Baby James,” during Live in Central Park Revisited: James Taylor at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

The following evening, Saturday, July 24, at 8:30 p.m. Moksh Community Arts returns to the Miller Outdoor Theatre for Houston’s Got Bollywood: Adventures in Motion Pictures. The program, which was originally scheduled for April 2020 but got COVID-cancelled, will finally grace the stage with four acts made for Bollywood lovers everywhere. From the music and the languages, to the art and culture of India, the evening-length program will showcase it all in the unique dance-theater style of Bollywood.

Both Miller Outdoor Theatre shows are free and happening rain-or-shine, and if you missed your chance to get a seated, socially distanced ticket, you can always grab a blanket or lawn chair and head for the pod seating on the Hill. Or, if you prefer, you can stay home entirely and watch on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel (Live in Central Park Revisited here and Houston’s Got Bollywood here), or Facebook page.

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