Halloween, the holiday that keeps October ticking, is fast approaching, but there’s more to do in Houston than just have spooky fun – though we have some of that, too. This week, you can relive one of the biggest scandals of the '90s, enjoy a little Rodgers and Hammerstein, or confront your worst nightmares through art. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, you can revisit the Bates Motel, dance ‘til you can’t dance no more, or celebrate art, beer and chips all in one place. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — in fact, all of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Mason
7:30 p.m. Thursday, free
In 1994, before surreality became a regularly scheduled primetime occurrence, the nation watched video of ice skater Nancy Kerrigan clutching her knee, repeatedly crying “Why?” after a man attacked her with a police baton, with morbid fascination. Then her rival, Tonya Harding, was implicated in the attack, and the feeding frenzy was on. When director Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya – starring Margot Robbie as the disgraced skater, Sebastian Stan as her abusive husband and Allison Janney as her also abusive stage mom – screens Thursday night, take a look at the events through Tonya’s eyes in this faux documentary Variety says “is a fresh, chancy, and wickedly enjoyable movie” with “a tone of poker-faced goofball Americana that suggests a biopic made by the Coen brothers.”
An Evening of Scenes from Operas and Musical Theater
University of St. Thomas
7:30 p.m. Friday, free
Be prepared to leaving humming a few popular tunes after the University of St. Thomas Music Department presents an evening of songs and scenes from opera and musical theater. The program, featuring musical direction by Dr. Brady Knapp and stage direction and choreography by Debra Dickinson, includes selections from Oklahoma, the first musical from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein; the oft-returned-to-for-a-reason Marriage of Figaro, one of several of Mozart's operatic repertoire standards; and Street Scene, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by Elmer Rice (who also wrote the show's book), with lyrics by Langston Hughes. The program repeats at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 21, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 22.
Splendid China XII
Miller Outdoor Theatre
7:30 p.m. Friday, free
Dive into Chinese culture with a program of traditionally influenced and contemporary Chinese dance, presented by Dance of Asian America. The program includes brand-new choreography and appearances from some of the top dancers from China and here locally, including China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater which, affiliated with the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, is the largest state-supported theater in the country, and Houston’s own Ad Deum II Company. If you can’t make it out to Miller Friday night, you get a second chance to see Splendid China XII Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
A Fistful of Soul's 8th Anniversary Dance Party
The Continental Club
10 p.m. Friday, free
You’re going to want to put on your dancing shoes for this one. Following Wednesday night’s panel discussion on Chicano soul music with Ruben Molina, the author of Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture, Molina – who’s also a part of L.A.’s Southern Soul Spinners – will stop by the Continental Club to guest DJ at A Fistful of Soul’s 8th anniversary party. Since 2009, A Fistful of Soul has been hosting their dance parties, inspired by the "northern soul" dance parties of 1970s England, for anyone to enjoy. (Along the way, they’ve also picked up a few "Best of" awards from the Houston Press too.) Please note this one is 21 and up only.
2017 East End Street Fest con Corazon
Noon Saturday, free
Harvey couldn’t stop this party (though proceeds will benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts). Yes, the East End Street Fest is on – this year with plenty of heart. Imagine three blocks worth of artisans and street performers, a kid’s zone, plenty of food options and a stage featuring artists from across the musical spectrum – including DJ H3nry V, DJ Tinazi, Mas Pulpo, Sister Sister, Metanoia, Sherita Perez, and Walter Suhr and Mango Punch! There will also be a charging zone, bike valet for cyclists and a pedi-bike service.
Nightmares Art Show
Hardy and Nance Studios
5 p.m. Saturday, free
Hardy and Nance is back with not only a collection of nightmare-inspired art, but also their first open studios event since being flooded by Harvey. Between the artists in residence at Hardy and Nance – that’s more than 35 painters, photographers, jewelry designers, sculptors and more – and the more than 40 artists participating in the art show, you are sure to find every artistic base covered. In regard to the nightmarish art, expect your worst dreams realized in Robin Baker’s favored black and white works, the illustrative pieces of Blue One Thirty (named one of our 100 Creatives in 2013), the culturally inspired art of Lizbeth Ortiz, and the dark whimsy of Jeston Rodriguez, to name a few.
Beer & Chips Art Festival
8th Wonder Brewery
Noon Sunday, free
Anyone who’s ever spent time in a bar can tell you that beer and chips go together like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, and anything else that goes comfortably hand-in-hand. This kid-friendly traveling art show – returning to 8th Wonder, the very location where the festival made its debut a couple of years ago – promises to bring together work from more than 50 local, national and international artists for an eye-pleasing display, with craft beer and freshly cooked chips on hand to please the taste buds. Since popping up at 8th Wonder, by the way, the festival’s traveled to Dallas and has its sights set on more, hoping to soon bring crunchy and cold treats to people everywhere.
Bob Schneider with The Tontons
6 p.m. Wednesday, free
Austin-based musician Bob Schneider has been holding court in our state capital's music scene for the last quarter century, a 54-time Austin Music Award winner with more than 15 records to his name, not to mention the many guest spots, collaborations and a couple of books. You may know him from any of those things, his time spent with the Ugly Americans or The Scabs, or maybe his new single "Lake Michigan," released last month. Supporting the "most popular singer-songwriter in Austin" is Houston's own indie rockers the Tontons, led by lead singer Asli Omar. As always 104.1 KRBE will be broadcasting live from the Plaza starting at 6 p.m., so get there early to enjoy games, meet the DJs, pick up some food and partake in craft beer specials.
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Historic Market Square Houston
7 p.m. Wednesday, free
Make time Wednesday night to see the film that taught us a boy’s best friend is his mother. Yes, the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho will screen at Historic Market Square Houston, courtesy of the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow and the Houston Downtown Management District. Get there early – a pet costume contest might win you some gift cards and a Halloween-themed relay race might nab you a pair of tickets to the Houston Symphony's screening of Psycho with a live orchestra on Friday, October 27, at Jones Hall – and take a shower first, because there's no telling when you'll feel safe to do it again.
7 p.m. Wednesday, free
Syndicated columnist and freelance writer Tom Philpott will stop by Brazos for a reading and Q&A Wednesday night in advance of Houston Grand Opera and HGOco’s presentation of the chamber opera Glory Denied by Tom Cipullo, based on Philpott’s book, Glory Denied: The Vietnam Saga of Jim Thompson, America’s Longest-Held POW, in November. Philpott documented the history of Thompson, and the opera draws from it to tell the story of a man returning home to a country he barely recognizes, set of course during the society-shifting days of the Vietnam era.