October is officially here, which means saying goodbye to Hispanic Heritage Month and hello to Czech Heritage Month. Luckily, there’s a way to honor both this week, along with a classic film at the Alamo Drafthouse, a classic play at Rice and DIY sign making at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — and nine of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
38th Annual Festival Chicano
Miller Outdoor Theatre
7 p.m. Thursday, free
It’s your second to last weekend to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (it ends on October 15), so take the time to come out to Miller for the oldest cultural celebration of Chicano music. On Thursday, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz, Jaime y Los Chamacos and Sandy G y Los Gavilanes will take the stage to showcase the unique blend of styles you can expect all weekend long. If you can’t make it Thursday, the festival continues at 7 p.m. Friday night with Little Joe y La Familia, Shelly Lares and Street People, and at 7 p.m. Saturday night with AB Quintanilla III & Elektro Kumbia, La Fiebre and Isabel Marie.
The General vs. The President book signing
7 p.m. Thursday, free
After an unexpected victory in the 1948 election (“Dewey defeats Truman,” anyone?), Harry Truman’s reward was a communist China, accused Soviet spy Alger Hiss, the early days of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt, the Berlin Blockade, the Soviet Union’s first successful detonation of an A-bomb, and North Korea invading South Korea. And then there was General Douglas MacArthur, at the time the U.N. commander in Korea. In his new book, UT Austin history professor H.W. Brands revisits the circumstances around Truman’s controversial firing of MacArthur in 1951 for insubordination – specifically, for MacArthur’s tendency to insult Truman, his refusal to brief the White House and his threats to nuke China while Truman sought peace. The Los Angeles Times says, “Their epic collision of wills, egos and policies helped set America’s course in the Cold War as well the backdrop for current tensions in northeast Asia” and Brands’s “engaging book helps explain why.”
Ty Herndon with The Band Hennessy
7 p.m. Thursday, free
After breakthrough success in the 1990s with the release of hit singles like “What Mattered Most,” country singer Ty Herndon struggled both professionally and privately. But with the release of House on Fire last year, his eighth album and his first since publicly coming out in 2014, Wide Open Country says that Herndon “reclaims the magic that was sprinkled throughout his first three records.” The Grammy-nominated musician and The Band Hennessy, a Houston cover band turned original rock music-makers fronted by co-vocalists Heather Miller and Ashley Hennessy, will take to the Green this Thursday for “Show Your Pride Night.”
Rice University – Hamman Hall
8 p.m. Thursday, $5 to $10
Neil Simon’s 1988 farce begins with a suicide attempt from a New York deputy mayor, Charlie, on the night of Charlie and his wife Myra’s 10th wedding anniversary party. As the clueless but well-to-do guests – lawyers, an accountant, psychiatrist, cooking-show host and a man running for the U.S. Senate – begin to arrive two by two to find Myra missing and Charlie alive but incoherent and sporting a flesh wound, they launch into full cover-up mode. But guessing at what happened based only on spurious claims, outright gossip and rumors leads only to a classic comedy of miscommunication, as they attempt to hide their versions of the truth not only from the outside world and police, but each other. Rumors continues through October 14.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Mason
7:30 p.m. Friday, free
Alfred Hitchcock’s voyeuristic classic about a wheelchair-bound photographer who believes one of his neighbors has murdered his wife has been spoofed in everything from The Flintstones to The Simpsons, but you can see where it all started when the Alamo Drafthouse screens the film for free, courtesy of the Houston Symphony. With classic performances from Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr (whose villain, Lars Thorwald, is said to be based on Hitchcock rival David O. Selznick), this is one you won’t want to miss. You can pick up a free ticket at the box office or buy a $5 food and beverage voucher online to reserve a seat. If you can’t make it to Friday’s showing, you can still try Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Hands-On Houston: Sign Painting
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
11 a.m. Saturday, free
Get inspired by HCCC’s “For Hire: Contemporary Sign Painting in America” exhibit and then try your hand at the almost lost art by painting your own hand-lettered sign. Come early – this one’s first-come, first-served while supplies last – and allow yourself at least 25 minutes to learn all about fonts, spacing and color as you use paint and stencils to create your own masterpiece. Once you’re done, take it home to hang or display it proudly at work, and you can always come back for one of the live sign painting events through December to check your work against the professionals.
“Embraced by the Void” opening reception
5 p.m. Saturday, free
Mexican painter Cecilia Villanueva's new solo show has been influenced by her observations of city architecture around the world. For 15 years, she has been inspired by architecture past and present, but more recently she's noticed a shift away from solid buildings and to empty space, voids and vacancies. Villanueva has also drawn inspiration from French philosopher Edgar Morin and his work on “complex thought.” In "Embraced by the Void," viewers will see few lines and hues of indigo, aerial views or views from Google Earth, paintings rendered in oils and mineral ink. "Embraced by the Void" will be on view through November 2. Villanueva will be available to visit with guests during the opening reception on Saturday, with an artist’s talk scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
“On Repeat” opening reception
Clarke & Associates
6 p.m. Saturday, free
After a month-long postponement due to Harvey, “On Repeat” will now open at Clarke & Associates on Saturday. Curated by poet and art critic (and University of Houston professor) Raphael Rubinstein, with a title borrowed from a LCD Soundsystem track, the exhibit will feature works from 14 artists – both well-established and up-and-coming – that focus on patterns and repetition. The exhibit, which includes such names as Jennifer Bartlett, Tameka Norris and James Siena, explores through a variety of mediums the logic of the artists’ supports (the base on which art is made) and also situates the work of younger contemporary artists with that of the deconstruction of the 1970s Supports/Surfaces movement. "On Repeat" will be on view Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment until December 14.
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METdance Season Kickoff
8 p.m. Saturday, free
METdance returns for its 22nd season with “Where the Heart Is,” a season-long showcase of the talent nurtured right in our own backyard featuring new and repertory works both inspired by home and created by established and up-and-coming dance makers who have lived in Texas. Saturday night’s kick-off event will include a site-specific piece in Arcade by the Color Condition and works from Joshua L. Peugh, creator of the always popular toe-tapper The Clean-Cut American Stage Show; Camille A. Brown, whose New Second Line was performed during last year’s “United in Dance” season; and Hattie Haggard, their 2017 Emerging Choreographer awardee whose world premiere piece explores the at times frustrating side of playing arcade games.
Czech Heritage Month Concert
Cullen Hall, University of St. Thomas
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, free
October is Czech Heritage Month and one way to show your appreciation for the people that gave us the kolache – other than learning to polka, playing tarok or swinging by the Czech Center Museum Houston to check out the eye-opening “Vedem: The Magazine of the Terezin Ghetto” exhibit (which you should definitely still do) – is to stop by the University of St. Thomas when the Apollo Chamber Players present a concert of music from Czech composers. On the program you’ll hear three of the most prominent of Czech composers: Antonín Dvorák, who penned the famous “From the New World” Symphony and one of opera’s most beautiful arias in Rusalka’s “Song to the Moon”; Bedrich Smetana, who composed Má Vlast and The Bartered Bride; and Leoš Janácek, whose opera Jenufa has been said to be close to perfect.