Things To Do

Best Bets: Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and Destroy All Monsters

Join the costume contest on Saturday at Scream on the Green.
Join the costume contest on Saturday at Scream on the Green. Photo by Katya Horner
It’s that time of year again: It’s Halloween, the best holiday for a number of reasons. This week is also Día de los Muertos, and our first step toward another great food-related holiday, Thanksgiving. We got plenty of spooky-hued activities to enjoy on this week’s list of best bets, as well as some counterprogramming for you Halloween scrooges out there. Keep reading for more on what you can look forward to this week.

It’s been said of Frédéric Chopin that “no one before or since has contributed as many significant works to the piano's repertoire, or come closer to capturing its soul.” And if you want to hear the “matchless genius” of Chopin come to life, who better than the “Chopin Guy,” the only American to ever win first prize in International Chopin Piano Competition? That’s exactly who DACAMERA is bringing to the Wortham Theater Center on Friday, October 29, at 7 p.m. when they open their 2021-2022 season – a return to in-person performance – with Garrick Ohlsson: An Evening of Chopin. You can still get orchestra level tickets to enjoy the Grammy Award-winning pianist’s all-Chopin program here for $42.50 to $72.50. And you can check out DACAMERA’s entire upcoming season here.
The poster proclaimed it to be "The Battle-Cry that could Save the World!" and name-dropped some pretty big players: Mothra, Godzilla, Rodan, and Manda. Yes, it’s Ishiro Honda’s 1968 kaiju classic Destroy All Monsters, which boasts an impressive lineup (we didn’t even mention King Ghidorah, Anguirus, or crowd favorite Minilla yet). You can make it a kaiju Halloween at Asia Society Texas Center this Friday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. during their Destroy All Monsters Halloween Outdoor Film Party. Nab your tickets here ($5 for members and $10 for nonmembers), grab your comfort items (lawn chairs and blankets), and maybe even reserve your own $10 "monstrous snack box" for two to enjoy one of the better Godzilla flicks ever made. Get there at 7 p.m. and join in some games to see who will reign supreme over Monsterland (if you know the movie, you'll get that reference).

Delve into Hector Berlioz’s dark and twisty mind this weekend when the Houston Symphony presents his Symphonie fantastique, an epic born from “Berlioz’s hallucinogenically morbid fantasies and unrequited love for the actress Harriet Smithson,” which “describes his obsession and dreams, tantrums and moments of tenderness, and visions of suicide and murder, ecstasy and despair.” Joining Berlioz on the program are Pablo de Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Symphonic Variations on an African Air. You can buy in-hall tickets for 8 p.m. on Friday, October 29, or Saturday, October 30, or 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 31. If you feel like enjoying this one from home, you can also buy a $20 ticket here to view a livestream of Saturday night's concert.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a two-day “explosion of color and life-affirming joy,” and event centered around death, yes, “but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members.” Its festivities become more well-known each year, and MECA’s 21-year-old festival is a local Día de los Muertos stalwart. The Día de los Muertos Festival: Honoring Our Past, Celebrating Our Future is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 30, and Sunday, October 31. You can expect dance and musical performances, and ofrendas (or alters) on display. Admission is free, but you’ll want to bring money because you’re sure to want to shop the artists and artisan vendors and sample the cultural cuisine that will be onsite.

If family fun is what you’re looking for, family fun is what you’ll get at Scream on the Green on Saturday, October 30, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Discovery Green. Festivities include an all-ages costume contest, music from DJ Mohawk Steve, roaming characters for photo ops and Kona Ice onsite all before an 8 p.m. screening of the Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice. Also, be sure to check out the ten, seven-foot-tall painted skulls on display as part of Celebración de Vida by MEXICRÁNEOS. And don’t skimp on your costumes, because the all-ages costume contest is sure to be competitive, with a variety of categories including even an award going to the best costumed dog. You can view the contest’s full schedule here and, as always, admission is free and open to the public.
Spend your Halloween weekend with a little bit of highbrow psychological horror – director Frida Kempff’s Knocking (Knackningar), which is playing over at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this weekend. The titular sound plagues a woman, Molly, who encounters the sound after she moves into an apartment following a stint in a psychiatric hospital. In the film, “Kempff spins Molly’s suspicions about a mysterious tapping noise into an insistent entry in the horrors of breakdown and isolation.” It’s “a horror movie with no jump scares or monsters,” featuring instead “the disturbing kind of slow burn mystery that makes a viewer question everything they see or hear.” You can catch Knocking on Saturday, October 30, at 7 p.m. or Sunday, October 31, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $7 to $9.

Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act remains undeniably popular and for good reason (though calling it part of “the most important movie series of our time” may be a bit much). Still, it’s no surprise the film inspired a five-time Tony nominated musical, one which Theatre Under the Stars will open on Tuesday, November 2. Simone Gundy will play Deloris Van Cartier, and though the lounge-singer-forced-into-protective-custody-at-a-convent part is familiar, the ‘70s setting is new, but means the show “hits the sweet spot in female empowerment set to an ersatz-Seventies beat.Sister Act runs through November 14, and you can get tickets here for $40 to $136. And you can get a sneak peek from TUTS Artistic Director/production director and choreographer Dan Knechtges and musical director Alex Navarro during last week’s TUTS Spotlight Webcast.
If you’ve ever tuned into Food Network and binge-watched Good Eats, Iron Chef America, or the most brutal (and fun) show in the channel’s history, Cutthroat Kitchen, then you know Alton Brown. The New York Times described his persona as “part nerd and part gentleman, part mastermind and part bro,” and “a know-it-all who just might know it all, and if some of his material isn’t precisely gourmet, he has the smarts and the delivery to put it over.” On Tuesday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m. Society for the Performing Arts will welcome Brown and his latest road show, Alton Brown Live: Beyond the Eats, to Jones Hall. Aside from food, comedy, and music, who knows exactly what to expect? But we can say there are still some tickets available, and you can purchase them here for $80 to $100.
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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.