Things To Do

Best Bets: Fellini, Mixed Messages, and a Whole Lotta Shakin’

Los Texmaniacs kicks off the 42 Annual Festival Chicano at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Los Texmaniacs kicks off the 42 Annual Festival Chicano at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Photo by Michael G. Stewart
Just in time for World Post Day on October 9, we’ve got two letter-related entries on this week’s list of best bets. We’ve also got art and music festivals, a film series, and much more. Keep reading for a list of the best things to do this coming week.

Celebrate Chicano music and all the styles that have influenced it – from mariachi and Tejano to country and rock – during the 42nd Annual Festival Chicano this weekend at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The three-night festival begins on Thursday, October 7, with performances by Little Joe y La Familia and Los Texmaniacs. The following night, Friday, October 8, Ram Herrera and Avizo (with guests Adalberto, J R Gomez, and Demmi Garcia) will take the stage. And finally, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales and Shelly Lares will close the festival on Saturday, October 7. Each show begins at 7 p.m. and they are all free. You can try for a seated ticket here, or you can grab a blanket or lawn chair and claim a space on the Hill. Saturday night’s concert will also be livestreamed, and you can watch on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel, or Facebook page.
The Federico Fellini 100 Tour continues this weekend at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with two films from the start of Fellini’s solo directing career: Variety Lights (Luci del varietà) on Thursday, October 7, at 7 p.m. and I vitelloni on Friday, October 8, at 7 p.m. Variety Lights is the “ironically grandiose title” of Fellini’s directorial debut about “the onstage and backstage antics of a provincial troupe of lovably inept vaudeville performers.I vitelloni, released three years later, is “a clear-eyed portrait of five young men lingering in a post adolescent limbo, dreaming of adventure and escape from their small coastal town.” Martin Scorsese called the film Fellini’s “first great film” and a “major inspiration” for his own film Mean Streets. Tickets to each film are available for $7 to $9.

Is Edgar Allan Poe “the most influential American writer,” or as W.B. Yeats called him, “the greatest of American poets”? The fact that he’s responsible for “inventing or perfecting half the genres represented on the bestseller list” – mystery, science fiction, psychological suspense, and gothic horror – is just one consideration to keep in mind. But you can argue it out amongst yourselves after you see Nevermore: Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, which opens the Classical Theatre Company’s season on Friday, October 8, at 8 p.m. The play, adapted by Chris Iannacone and CTC Executive Artistic Director John Johnston (who also directs the production), includes such classic Poe works as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Raven.” Tickets to the in-person performances can be purchased here for $10 to $25. The production runs through October 17, and note that post-show talkbacks are scheduled for October 10 and 17.

Jones Hall will be rocking this weekend when the Houston Symphony, led by Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke, welcomes multi-instrumentalist Dave Bennett for Whole Lotta Shakin’: Swing to Rock. The celebration of swing, big band, and rockabilly music – twice cancelled, first due to Harvey and then because of COVID – is finally making it to the stage with a program that includes selections from Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Johnny Cash. Bennett recently told the Houston Chronicle he “will also be doing a few original numbers” from his album Blood Moon and the album he’s currently making. Shows are scheduled for Friday, October 8, and Saturday, October 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 10, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday night’s performance will also be livestreamed. In-person tickets are available for $29 to $114, or you can buy a ticket to the livestream here for $20.
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A.D. Players will open Ken Ludwig's play Dear Jack, Dear Louise this weekend.
Photo by Jeff McMorrough
Inspired by his own parents, playwright Ken Ludwig crafted a play – Dear Jack, Dear Louise – which serves as a celebration of his “parents and their remarkable courtship during World War II,” a mail-based courtship between an Army doctor stationed in Oregon and a New York City actress, as well as a reminder of “the sacrifices, courage, and state of this country from 1941 to 1945.” In the process of revisiting the values of the time and the intimacy of letter-writing, Ludwig’s created “a poignant, funny tribute to the enduring power of human connection.A.D. Players will give the show its Houston premiere this Friday, October 8, at 8 p.m. when it opens their 55th season, itself a return to in-person performances. Dear Jack, Dear Louise runs through October 31 and you can purchase tickets, ranging in price from $25 to $75, here.

The Bayou City Art Festival returns on this weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10. Festival producer Art Colony Association, Inc. will take over a stretch of Downtown Houston – at Sam Houston Park and along Allen Parkway – to give guests room to rub elbows with the artists and shop their artwork. Los Angeles-based painter McKenzie Fisk will be the festival’s featured artist, a festival which will include 200 artists from around the country. Stages, entertainers, a food truck park, craft beer and wine gardens, and more round out the experience. Tickets are available here; $18 for adults and $5 for kids 6 to 12 (with children under five in for free). There are also $60 VIP Hospitality Lounge tickets available to truly enjoy the festival in style. Note that no tickets will be sold at the gate, so be sure to get your ticket online now.

Let your ears travel back in time on Saturday, October 9, at 8 p.m. when Antoine Plante leads Mercury Chamber Orchestra in Bach & Telemann, a program in which each work will be played on period (not modern) instruments. On the program is Georg Philipp Telemann’s Ouverture-Suite in C minor, TWV 55:c3; Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Violins, Two Cellos, and Strings in D, RV 564, and two works from Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto for Violin in A minor, BWV 1041, “one of the cornerstones of the violin repertoire,” and Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052, “Bach's best known harpsichord concerto.” In-person tickets can be purchased here for $10 to $76, or you can buy access to the online stream (premiering October 9 at 8 p.m. and available through October 17) for $20 here.
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Concertmaster Scott St. John will lead baritone Eduardo Tercero and the ROCO String Quartet in selections from Elvis Costello’s 1993 album The Juliet Letters.
Photo by Blueprint Film Co.
If you love a good, old-fashioned letter, you probably already know that on October 9, 1874, the Universal Postal Union was established in Switzerland – a key date in the history of postal affairs. Celebrate the anniversary on World Post Day with ROCO on Saturday, October 9, at 8 p.m. when they present Mixed Messages at POST (you know, the former Barbara Jordan Post Office). Baritone Eduardo Tercero will join the ROCO String Quartet, led by concertmaster Scott St. John, to perform selections from Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters, a 1993 album comprised of “a series of dramatic ballads in which passages written by male and female characters of varying ages and degrees of sanity tell stories of love, betrayal and death.” The collaborative concert will also showcase Houston Contemporary Dance Company as well as Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean. Tickets are available here, with general admission tickets priced at $45 and VIP tickets available for $100. The performance will also be available to stream for free on ROCO’s website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.
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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.