Things To Do

Best Bets: Elvis, Fellini, and The Unexpected Spy

Movies Under the Stars returns to Market Square Park this Friday with a screening of Slumdog Millionaire.
Movies Under the Stars returns to Market Square Park this Friday with a screening of Slumdog Millionaire. Photo by Morris Malakoff, The CKP Group
Whether you want to experience a tribute to an A-list musical artist (or two), or learn how to go from sorority sister to CIA spy, we’ve got you covered this week. We’ve also got world premiere musical works, two Oscar-winning films, and a festival made for millennials. Keep reading for more on this week’s best bets.
The allure of Elvis Presley is still strong, so strong that the jumpsuit and cape he wore to perform at Madison Square Garden in 1972 went for over a million dollars at auction last week. Owning that jumpsuit won’t get you closer to experiencing Elvis live, but here in Houston you can get something darn close. On Thursday, September 9, at 7:30 p.m., A.D. Players will host a weekend-long run of Elvis My Way, starring Brandon Bennett, who was crowned the “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist” at Graceland. The show, presented by Artists Lounge Live, traces Elvis’s career and is sure to include all the Elvis hits you can fit in an evening. Shows continue on Friday, September 10, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 11, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, September 12, at 2:30 p.m. You can purchase tickets for $36 to $75 here.
Fun fact: Federico Fellini, the legendary Italian filmmaker behind films like La Dolce Vita and 8 ½, has “an Oxford English Dictionary-sanctioned adjective” all his own. It’s “Felliniesque,” and it refers to things “fantastic, bizarre; lavish, extravagant.” If you’re not familiar with the works that led to such a definition, let the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston introduce you to some of them during Fellini 100, a centennial tour that runs October through November and starts this Friday, September 10, with a screening of La Strada. The film, “a brilliant deconstruction of the road film genre,” is “a devastating analysis of masculinity, love, existentialism, and so much more.” You can purchase a ticket to the Friday’s 7 p.m. in-person screening (or the second showing scheduled for Saturday, September 11, at 7 p.m.) here for $9.

The Houston Chamber Choir will open their season at South Main Baptist Church on Friday, September 10, at 7:30 p.m. with Two Streams, A Cantata. The titular piece, composed by Daniel Knaggs, is inspired by “Biblical texts and the writings of Polish nun Saint Faustina,” with Artistic Director and Conductor Robert Simpson telling the Houston Press that “there will be times with the Gregorian chant, fugal sections, and other breathtaking movements are stamped with 2021, and it holds together in an extraordinary way that goes beyond the composition of the movements.” You can buy tickets for $25 here. (Discounts available for seniors, music educators, veterans/active military, and students.) The program will also be released on Houston Chamber Choir's Digital Stage on September 26 at 2 p.m. A ticket to rent the broadcast for three days can also be purchased here for $10.
The much-maligned millennials will have their day – actually a weekend – courtesy of Stages starting Friday, September 10, when they kick off OMG Fest. The inaugural OMG (or Outdoor Movies at The Gordy) Festival will screen 10 Things I Hate About You at 8 p.m. on the Brown Foundation Lawn, the first of three Shakespeare-themed, ‘90s movies of the weekend. Deliver Us from Eva is set for Saturday, September 11, at 8 p.m. and The Lion King follows on Sunday, September 12, at 7 p.m. Get there two hours early each night to enjoy the full array of festival activities – lawn games (giant Jenga, anyone?), food trucks, a photo booth, and much more. Houston Style Magazine’s Totally Randie will host and DJ GNDRBNDR will provide the music. Individual wristbands can be purchased for $10 here.

Venture out to Market Square Park on Friday, September 10, at 8 p.m. when they launch Movies Under the Stars, their popular outdoor film screenings series with Danny Boyle’s 2008 Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire. The film, about “a Mumbai orphan who rises from rags to riches on the strength of his lively intelligence” – displayed on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? – “uses dazzling cinematography, breathless editing, driving music and headlong momentum to explode with narrative force, stirring in a romance at the same time.” Bring a lawn chair or blanket and get there early to claim a spot to watch the free screening. The series continues through November with films like Death Becomes Her, Poltergeist, and Good Will Hunting.
Erwin Bach, Tina Turner’s husband, has said that HBO’s documentary TINA (which premiered earlier this year) and the 2018 Broadway musical about her life “mark her bittersweet farewell to her fans.” Turner, who retired from touring in 2009, has “an inimitable decades-long career,” which includes “eight Grammys, a number one hit,” and massive sales – “nearly 200 million records and more tickets than any other solo performer in history.” You can get a taste of the music and performance that drove that impressive career at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 10, and Saturday, September 11, when H-E-B Presents Proud Tina: The Ultimate Tribute to Tina Turner at Miller Outdoor Theatre. You can get seated tickets for the free show here, or you can head for pod seating on the Hill, which is no-tickets-necessary.

It's not every day that you knock Yo-Yo Ma off a music chart, but that’s exactly what the Apollo Chamber Players did with their new album, With Malice Toward None, when it hit No. 1 on Amazon’s “Hot New Releases” chart last month. You can experience the live premiere of the album’s title track, composed by J. Kimo Williams, during their season opener, also titled With Malice Toward None, at The MATCH on Saturday, September 11, at 7:30 p.m. Electric violinist Tracy Silverman also features on the program, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of September 11. You can purchase tickets here for $35, with $40 tickets available at the door. Be sure to arrive early, as there will be a Q&A session at 7 p.m. before the concert. You can read more about the show here.

On Sunday, September 12, at 7 p.m. the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston will virtually host Tracy Walder, author of The Unexpected Spy: From the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World's Most Notorious Terrorists, as part of their Authors in Conversation series. Walder, “a sorority sister at the University of Southern California and a news junkie who joined the CIA just weeks after graduation in 2000,” will discuss her book, which chronicles her time in the CIA’s Weapons of Mass Destruction office, sexism she encountered in the FBI, and her decision to leave to teach at a Dallas high school. You can register to view the virtual program here. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members, and a premium ticket (which includes a copy of Walder’s book) can be purchased for $30.
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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.