Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Death Scenes and Staying Dry

This was not a good week for Houston. With our ongoing flood situation and the unpredictability of further rains, it's hard to know what's in store for our city over the next 72 hours. Several outdoor events remain scheduled and, if the roads look safe this Saturday and Sunday, please do check our online calendar for those outdoor offerings. In the meantime, and as we begin to recover as a city, let's continue to look out for our neighbors while supporting local businesses. And, as always, stay safe this weekend.

From 2011 to 2014 our Houston Astros averaged better than 100 losses per season, but thankfully that’s ancient history. Now one of the most talented young squads in baseball, the promising ‘Stros are a year better, sporting a revamped bullpen, and the locals are favored to advance to the postseason for a second consecutive year. They’ll be playing the Boston Red Sox for a crucial early-season series. Although the boys from Beantown made seven playoff appearances between 2003 and 2013, winning two division titles and three World Series championships, they’re looking to rebound from two straight last-place division finishes. They’ve reloaded, landing the cream of the free agent pitching crop (David Price) and trading for ace closer Craig Kimbrel. We checked in with Reid Ryan, president of business operations for the Astros, and he says he expects a memorable weekend. “When the Red Sox come to Houston, it always provides an exciting series,” says Ryan. “The last time the Red Sox were in Minute Maid Park, Jose Altuve hit a walk-off home run. Our fans enjoy this match-up, and there is even more excitement this season with our young team fresh off a postseason appearance in 2015.” Don’t miss Boston legend David Ortiz’s final visit to Houston, along with Friday night fireworks – one of our suggestions for great entertainment – when the Astros take on the Red Sox at the Juice Box.

7:10 p.m. Friday, and 3:05 p.m. April 23, 7:05 p.m. April 24. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. For information, call 877-927-8767 or visit $13 to $125. 

Millworker Julie Jordan and carnival barker Billy Bigelow meet and as a result of their instant infatuation, both lose their jobs. They marry, but the happily-ever-after is tarnished when he starts hitting her. Meanwhile, her best friend, Carrie Pipperidge, marries fisherman Enoch Snow, who dreams of being rich and having lots of children. It’s Carousel, the second Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration (after Oklahoma) in 1945 and Houston Grand Opera’s musical theater offering this season. Australian tenor Alexander Lewis (replacing Norman Reinhardt, who was released from his contract by HGO after he was offered the role of Tony in West Side Story in Salzburg) grew up in musical theater (although his parents were both opera singers) and seemed a natural to play the Enoch Snow role. “The Enoch Snow character can be a very lighthearted character, and his relationship with Carrie is trying to set up the stereotypical perfect couple to kind of counter the somewhat more flawed relationship of Julie and Billy,” Lewis says, adding that the story is rendered in “a grounded reality and realism that I think will relate to the modern world.” And then, of course, we're looking forward to all that great music this Friday night: “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “If I Loved You” are just some of the musical’s memorable songs.

7:30 p.m. Friday and April 27, 29-30 and May 6-7; 2 p.m. April 24. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. Sung in English with projected English text. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit $18 to $302.25. 

There’s nothing like a disaster to make people feel helpless. “What can I do?” we wonder. Most of us don’t have a boat to ferry people out of flooded apartment buildings, or lots of expendable cash or time. Yet there are many ways to help that don’t require much of us as individuals. Here is one of the local efforts under way to help Houston flood victims. The Houston Food Bank, at 535 Portwall, needs volunteers to cover shifts packing boxes of food for the needy through the next several days, which we think is definitely a pay-it-forward way to spend Saturday morning or afternoon. Register to volunteer online or call Van Tran at 713-547-8604. Even kids six years of age and older are welcome to volunteer.

Nonperishable food drop-offs, cleaning supplies such as mop buckets, mops, brooms, Clorox wipes, Clorox, garbage bags and bug spray, and cash donations are also welcome. Donate online at When donating food, consider ready-to-eat foods in easy-open containers (like pull-top cans) for maximum convenience.

8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Other weekday shifts are available 8 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. The Houston Food Bank, 535 Portwall. For information, call 713-547-8604 or visit

Adventurous ladies who like to get muddy, foamy, sandy and wet will have a blast at Galveston’s Gritty Goddess – an all-female 5K pitting women against 30 different challenges before they reach the finish line. Bring stretchy, comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and some shoes that can tolerate a good beating, because this event is sure to get messy. The obstacle course has runners climbing walls, crawling under netting, walking a plank, running through a wave pool and taking part in a litany of other physical challenges. It’s all in the spirit of sisterhood, says Race Director Audra Tassone. “There are a lot of coed races, so we wanted something for women. They can make it a women’s weekend. Girl power!” Costumes are encouraged, and so is tailgating – sans grills – per the fire marshal. We think road-tripping down to Galveston and tailgating with the women warriors could be just what the doctor ordered for Saturday. Be sure to check out the big white tent after the race for complimentary beer and ice cream as a reward for all the hard work. Proceeds benefit Girls On The Run and The Rainbow Connection.

8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, call 203?314?3059 or visit $75 to $80. 

William Shakespeare’s head is missing beneath the shallow grave where he’s buried. No, it’s true (or might be), according to archaeologists who recently radar-scanned the Bard’s burial site in Stratford-upon-Avon and found that his skull appears to have gone poof. (According to 19th-century news reports, grave robbers may have nabbed the dude’s noggin in the later 1800s.) Dark. Also dark – and fun and amusing – is Out Brief Candle: A Celebration of Death Scenes, which we think is a dramatic and entertaining way to spend Saturday afternoon. On the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, actors from the Houston Shakespeare Festival and University of Houston theater students are performing woven-together monologues and soliloquies of some of Shakespeare’s most memorable peace-out-from-Earth moments. “It’s great to see people geek out over somebody who remains vital to this day,” says Benjamin Rybeck of Brazos Bookstore, which is continuing the momentum built from last year’s successful Summer of Shakespeare with a handful of one-off events this year.

2 p.m. Saturday. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713?523-0701 or visit Free. 

Magic happens when ink and paper are smushed underneath a steamroller. Typically, a printing press can deal with a carved block that’s measured in inches, but once a block or board approaches a foot or feet, forget about traditional printmaking means. “The steamroller acts as a makeshift printing press as most printing presses cannot accommodate a block as large as the ones our artists are carving,” says PrintMatters president Katherine Rhodes Fields, who adds that some artists in the annual Rockin’ Rollin’ Prints event are carving woodblocks that measure three-by-five and three-by-four feet. This year more than 50 Texas artists are participating, including Leamon Green, Monica Villarreal, Eileen McClellan and Andis Applewhite. The fair includes art vendors, food trucks and a chance to view the prints, which move to Williams Tower for a juried exhibition in June. “I think, conceptually, it’s a great theme for our artists in that [the] phrase ‘under pressure’ takes on a lot of meanings and can manifest some interesting image-making,” says Fields. This is always a fun event, and we're looking forward to it again this Sunday.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Saint Arnold Brewing Company, 2000 Lyons. For information, visit Free. 

Sam Byrd, Phaedra Cook, Margaret Downing, Steve Jansen and Steve Rangel contributed to this post.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney