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Best Virtual Bets: Juneteenth, A ‘90s Cabaret, and Make Music Day

Inprint and the Houston Museum of African American Culture host Annette Gordon-Reed, who will read from her new memoir titled On Juneteenth.EXPAND
Inprint and the Houston Museum of African American Culture host Annette Gordon-Reed, who will read from her new memoir titled On Juneteenth.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo Photography
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We’re back this week with another list of the best virtual, outdoor, and socially distanced events this coming week. This Saturday, June 19, is Juneteenth, and you can bet we’ve got some suggestions for you to honor and celebrate the day, as well as a variety of other film and music options to keep you happily entertained.

Asia Society Texas Center continues their Front Lawn Film Nights, a showcase of Asian and Asian American films, this Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m. with an outdoor screening of To Be Takei. The New York Times says Jennifer Kroot’s documentary “uncovers something more surprising and even moving” then Star Trek star George Takei’s enduring pop culture legacy: “a childhood in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II; many years in entertainment lived as a closeted gay man; and, more recently, an outspoken stint as a marriage rights activist.” You can purchase a four-person, lawn-seating pod ($30 for Asia Society members and $40 for nonmembers) here, as well as a $10 popcorn and candy package for two, and bring your own blankets and lawn chairs. The last Front Lawn Film Night, featuring Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is set for next Friday, June 25.

Aperio, Music of the Americas will take to the Miller Outdoor Theatre stage on Friday, June 18, at 8:30 p.m. for Lush Life & Latin Tinge. The Marlon Chen-led concert includes “Take the A Train,” Duke Ellington’s “signature composition” and “one of the most important compositions in all of jazz.” The tune was written by Ellington’s “co-composer, arranger, and right-hand man” Billy Strayhorn, whose Lush Life, a piece which “conveys such a vast range of emotions that more than 500 musicians have explored it,” lends its name to the program. Ray Henderson and Mort Dixon’s "Bye Bye Blackbird," the African-American spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard’s "Sweet Georgia Brown," Mexican composer Arturo Márquez “Danzón No. 2,” Chick Corea’s "Spain," and Michael Torke’s “Fiji” round out the program. Though in-person tickets are no longer available, you can stream the free show on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, their YouTube channel, or their Facebook page.

Explore the friendship between two of the most famous Southerners of all time – Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams – through ups and downs, affection to "bitchery” (Williams's word not ours) when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Virtual Cinema opens Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation on Friday, June 18 in honor of Pride Month. The documentary by Lisa Immordino Vreeland is “composed entirely of the two men’s words,” as read by Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto, and “is a fascinating portrait that astutely uses their decades-long, sometimes rocky friendship to shed light on their respective personas.” You can purchase a five-day pass to view Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation here for $12.

Join Houston Cinema Arts Society and Houston Museum of African American Culture for a special Drive-In Juneteenth program on Saturday, June 19, with an 8:30 p.m. screening of Miss Juneteenth at Moonstruck Drive-In. The directorial debut of Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth is a “beautifully nuanced, delicate story” about a single mother, Turquoise Jones, who encourages her teen daughter to follow in her former beauty queen footsteps and be crowned Miss Juneteenth. Peoples says that in a way the film is a literal commemoration of the Juneteenth holiday, because it tells “a story about a Black woman with a dream deferred,” adding that “in a sense, she’s looking for a way to be free of her own past and the way that she saw herself.” Before the film at 7:30 p.m., DJ Red will be on hand for an hour-long set, followed by Peoples' new short film Doretha's Blues. You can purchase a ticket, $30 per car, here.

If you want to be transported back to the '90s – without having to dig out the overalls and light-up sneakers, that is – check out Pitch Me This (PMT) Productions on Sunday, June 20, at 8 p.m. when they restart their annual PMT Pop Up: 90s Cabaret. The tribute show, performed in-person at The Continental Club and also available to stream, will see local vocalists, The PMT Band and Midtown’s favorite ‘90s tribute band The Monicas take on ‘90s hits. This includes music from artists like Alanis Morissette, whose Jagged Little Pill was the best-selling album of 1996, and Radiohead, who released "The Ultimate 90s Album" (1997’s OK Computer) per BBC listeners. You can pick up a pay-what-you-can ticket (with a suggested price of $10) here.

You can thank France for this one — specifically, France's Ministry of Culture. In 1982, they imagined a new musical holiday, occurring on the summer solstice, where anyone and everyone would be welcome to sing and play music anywhere and everywhere. Fête De La Musique has since spread to 120 countries, and Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs are hosting a free, outdoor celebration of Make Music Day on Monday, June 21. You can make your way to The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park for live music: Montrose Horn Quartet from 4 to 5 p.m., Monarch Chamber Players from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Houston Jazz Orchestra from 7 to 9 p.m.

You may know author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed for her almost 25-year-old book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, or The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which nabbed her the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009. You may not know she’s a Texan who grew up in Conroe. It’s a fact sure to come up on Monday, June 21, at 7 p.m., when Inprint and the Houston Museum of African American Culture virtually present Gordon-Reed in honor of Juneteenth. Gordon-Reed will join ABC-13 News’ Melanie Lawson in conversation as well as read from her new memoir On Juneteenth for the event. Tickets to the stream are free, but you must register here.

In 1954, Variety called it "an unusually good piece of murder mystery entertainment." Almost 50 years later, Roger Ebert called the “remote-control suspense scenes” of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear WindowHitchcock at his most diabolical,” making the film – though “intended as entertainment in 1954” – “now revealed as art.” On Wednesday, June 23, at 8:30 p.m. you can enjoy the film, with Jimmy Stewart as a laid up photographer who maybe (probably) witnesses a murder, down at Market Square Park. The Downtown District will offer screenings of films from the 1950s and 1960s – like Sabrina, Some Like it Hot and another Hitchcock classic, Psycho – throughout the summer during their Movies at Market Square Park series. Bring blankets or lawn chairs for the free outdoor screening, now with relaxed (but still in place) physical distancing guidelines. You can find more information here.

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