Things To Do

Best Bets: No Bears, Our Planet and Oddities & Curiosities

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo, started by Michelle and Tony Cozzaglio, comes to Houston for all your weird and wacky needs.
The Oddities & Curiosities Expo, started by Michelle and Tony Cozzaglio, comes to Houston for all your weird and wacky needs. Photo by Jarrett Barnes
Put on something green and make some time this St. Patrick’s Day weekend to check out some of our best bets. This week you’ll find a nature documentary in concert, the return of the Jewish Film Festival, a traveling expo like no other and more, so keep reading for the full list of the best there is to do in Houston over the next seven days.

Though arrested and banned from making movies in 2010, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi went on to make movies anyway, at least five, before being arrested again in July and sentenced to serve his six-year prison sentence. In February, he was released on bail after beginning a hunger strike, and on Friday, March 17, at 7 p.m. you can visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to see his latest film, last year’s No Bears, to get an idea of what the Iranian regime considers “propaganda against the system.” The film, “an intricate and layered drama that somehow manages to be funny, angry, playful and despairing by turns,” features Panahi as a “semi-fictional version of himself,” and “in depicting the absurd constraints that he himself faces, Panahi exposes the absurdities of daily existence in Iran and the pathologies that afflict the population as a result of its misrule.” The film will screen again on Saturday, March 18, at 7 p.m. and tickets for either showing can be purchased for $7 to $9 here.

Though there’s no Late Nite Catechism show over at Stages this season, they’ve ensured that Houston will get its fix of its star, Denise Fennell, by commissioning the actor/playwright for a new show, Denise Fennell's The Bride, Or: Does This Dress Make Me Look Married?, which officially opens this week. Fennell recently described the play as “two truths and a lie” to the Houston Press, saying that it is “loosely based” on her story of being “a bride of a certain age.” She adds, “I got married much later in life and it was a completely different experience for me." You can catch the show on Friday, March 17, at 8 p.m., and performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May 14 at The Gordy. Tickets can be purchased here for $30 to $84.
The music of Cole Porter, producer of “a new kind of American lyric, and language” and a made-up New York “of penthouses and night clubs and hangovers which still resonates as another kind of American myth,” will be featured on Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m. when conductor Steven Reineke and the Houston Symphony welcome jazz singer Tony DeSare for Let’s Misbehave: The Songs of Cole Porter. DeSare, who along with guests Bria Skonberg and John Manzari will perform hits like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Night and Day,” has noted simply that “there’s something special about Cole Porter.” Two additional performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, March 18, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at Jones Hall. Tickets can be purchased here for $35 to $125. Saturday night’s concert will also be livestreamed, access to which can be purchased here for $20.

Look around your house. What’s missing? Whimsical taxidermy squirrels? Sculptures made from real (but not human) bone? Or maybe you’re bored with the same-old Halloween decorations you put out every year? If you’ve unexpectedly answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll want to head over to the George R. Brown Convention Center on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the Houston Oddities & Curiosities Expo. The traveling expo will bring more than eight dozen vendors, artists and more with a full range of weird and macabre items for every taste. There will also be entertainment on hand in the form of a sideshow, Doctor Finnegan’s Circus and jack-of-all-circus-trades Leila Noone. General admission tickets can be purchased here for $12 to $15, and kids 12 and under get in free.
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Start celebrating 100 years of the Miller Outdoor Theatre this weekend with a Roaring Twenties-themed party.
Photo by Jeff Myers Photography
The 1920s are remembered for a number of things – flappers, jazz and automobiles included. But for Houstonians, 1923 will also be remembered for the dedication of Miller Outdoor Theatre. Following the opening of their 100th season on St. Patrick’s Day (Friday, March 17) with a performance by the Trinity Irish Dance Company, you can make your way to Miller Outdoor Theatre to celebrate Roaring Twenties-style on Saturday, March 18, at 6 p.m. for The Hot Sardines Special 100th Celebration Performance. Break out your best Great Gatsby-style garb and enjoy two hours of themed pre-show activities – swing dance lessons, vaudeville performers and (of course) plenty of photo opportunities – from 6 to 8 p.m. before the Hot Sardines take the stage at 8 p.m. You can reserve your free ticket here starting at 10 a.m. on March 17, you can watch from the Hill, or you can catch the show on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel or Facebook page.
Krzysztof Lang’s March ’68, a Romeo and Juliet-esque coming of age story set in Poland during the 1968 political crisis, will open the Houston Jewish Film Festival at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. The festival, now in its 19th year, will run through March 30 at three venues with screenings of 15 feature films and two programs of short films. The lineup includes the Chair’s Choice film, The Sign Painter, followed by a Q&A with Houston-based executive producer Peter Ragauss on March 19; J’Accuse with director of Michael Kretzmer in attendance on March 28; and a repeat screening of March ’68 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on March 23. Tickets to individual screenings can be purchased here for $12 to $19, or you buy a full festival subscription, pick three subscription, or virtual access to a Best of Fest pass here.

On Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. ROCO violinist Min-Jeong Koh will present a collection of songs by Asian composers, curated by Koh, that will tell the story of Koh and her sister, pianist Bo Yon Koh, and their immigration to the U.S. from Korea. The program, part of the ROCO Connections series and titled Here, There and Nowhere, will include works such as the traditional Korean folk song “Arirang,” arranged by Christine Kim; Jung Sun Kang’s “Star-Crossed,” a “tribute” to the (literally) star-crossed lovers of Korean mythology, Kyunwoo and Jiknyeo; and Reena Esmail’s “When the Violin,” which Esmail has described as a piece about “that first moment of trust, of softening," and is “based on the Hindustani raga Charukeshi.” Tickets for the concert, which will take place at Asia Society Texas Center, can be purchased here for $15 to $45.
Our Planet, “an eight-part, multimillion-dollar series” that debuted in 2019 is many things: It marked “Netflix’s first foray into nature programming.” It features narrator David Attenborough in “his first outing as an in-yer-face eco-warrior.” And it is one of those “big-budget nature spectacles,” filmed in 50 countries over four years by hundreds of crew members, that “appeals to the sense of wonder as viscerally as any of its predecessors, but to a purpose.” On Wednesday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. Performing Arts Houston will bring Our Planet Live in Concert to Jones Hall, an evening that takes the Emmy-winning series’ “color-saturated landscape art” and pairs it with music from Oscar winner Steven Price and narration from Attenborough and William Shatner. Tickets to Our Planet Live in Concert can be purchased here for $29 to $109.
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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.