Keep your spirits up this week by taking a minute to relax and have a little fiscally responsible fun while Houston starts down the long road to recovery; even better, there are some ways to support Harvey relief efforts while you do it. From music celebrating the diversity of the region to an art show celebrating the best block of programming on the Cartoon Network, there’s a little something for everyone this week. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — and eight of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
Charlie Robison with Charlie and the Regrets
7 p.m. Thursday, free
Thursday Night Concerts are back on the Green, courtesy of Green Mountain Energy, and not only will this season’s first installment showcase the Gulf Coast’s country-music stylings with Houston’s own (if Bandera-raised) Charlie Robison and opener Charlie and the Regrets, it will also offer the opportunity to support local Harvey relief efforts, specifically the Mayor's Relief Fund and Robison's own coastal relief fund. So, bring a blanket or lawn chairs, pack a picnic or pick up something to eat (and note glass containers and outside alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed, but beer and wine will be available for purchase), sit back and enjoy the music.
“Unfolded” opening reception
Cindy Lisica Gallery
6 p.m. Friday, free
Cindy Lisica Gallery will reopen Friday from their temporary Harvey-related closure for the opening of “Unfolded,” a solo exhibition from Korean-born American artist Chun Hui Pak. The work of the Austin-based Pak is no stranger to Houston, as a reproduction of her painting, Year of the Rooster II, is currently on view as part of the city’s Art Blocks program downtown. In the “Unfolded” series, Pak represents each of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac as unfolded origami. Also on display is work from her signature “Zen Iris” series, which was inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s painting, Black Iris (1926). The exhibit will be on display through October 7.
I Know a Secret book signing
Murder by the Book
6:30 p.m. Friday, free
Though the run of Rizzoli and Isles may have ended last year after seven seasons, the crime-solving duo live on not only in syndication, but in the continued work of Tess Gerritsen, who introduced Jane Rizzoli in her 2001 novel, The Surgeon, and Maura Isles one book later (in The Apprentice). For her newest novel, I Know a Secret, Gerritsen asked herself, “What if a killer set up his crime scenes the way a Renaissance painter would have arranged his paintings?” The answer can be found in the story of a murdered indie filmmaker, which leads Rizzoli and Isles on a search for a killer who appears to be mimicking the deaths of saints and may be connected to a scandal at a daycare 20 years earlier.
Adult Swim Art Show
7 p.m. Friday, free
The adult-oriented programming block Adult Swim, a Cartoon Network institution for millennials everywhere, is finally getting the art show it’s always deserved at Insomnia Gallery Friday night. More than 30 artists will be on hand displaying their fan art, so whether you’re hoping to see Pickle Rick (from Rick and Morty), a portrait of Home Movies’ Coach McGuirk, the frenetic absurdity of Robot Chicken in watercolor or a tribute to the block’s many bumps, there’s a good chance it’ll be there along with music, food-truck food and free drinks from the show’s sponsor, Eureka Heights Brew Co. The kids – and even the dog – are invited too.
Harvey Relief Concert
7 p.m. Friday, Pay What You Can ($10)
Apollo Chamber Players, Musiqa and Jazz Forever have joined forces for a special show at The MATCH, with all proceeds going to benefit Harvey relief efforts via the Greater Houston Community Foundation and Catholic Charities Houston. The program will include a premiere from Houston’s Mark Buller, new music from local composers, and works that reflect the city, from African-American spirituals to music from Mexico and Latin America to jazz and big-band classics. Tickets are pay what you can (minimum $10), but if your pocketbook allows, think about giving a little more when you get tickets or at the show, where donations will also be accepted.
5th Annual Houston AfriFEST
Houston Baptist University – Holcombe Mall
Noon Saturday, $5
Now in its fifth year, the Houston AfriFEST, organized by the Nigerian-American Multicultural Council in partnership with Houston African communities, returns to celebrate Africa, showcasing the different and diverse cultures on the continent through arts and crafts, folklore, live music, food and drinks, and fashion shows. AfriFEST will draw thousands, offering more than 70 vendors and at least 15 partnering countries. There will also be a kids’ zone for the festival’s youngest attendees, where they can have fun and learn different traditional African games. It is only $5 to get in, and kids, students and seniors are free.
"At the Edge of a Dream" opening reception
The Jung Center
5 p.m. Saturday, free
"At the Edge of a Dream," curated by Caslin Gregory & Associates’ Diane Griffin Gregory, is an exhibit that sits at the porous boundary between waking and dreaming, between the interior and the exterior, as expressed through the abstract, synergistic work of Sue Burke Harrington, Rosanne J. Hudson and Michelle O'Michael. The exhibit will feature Harrington’s acrylics, Hudson’s oil paint and O’Michael’s background in sculpture collectively to explore this space and the artists will be on hand Saturday to discuss it. "At the Edge of a Dream" will be on display until September 29.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
8 p.m. Saturday, free
Who’da thought such a bad ‘80s movie – so bad it helped inspire the Razzie Awards – would make such a fun little musical? (Apparently, Xanadu’s book writer Douglas Carter Beane, and Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, who contributed music and lyrics.) Now, Stages Repertory Theatre is swinging by Miller Outdoor Theatre and bringing two nights of escapist fun, where Greek mythology and roller disco collide as a muse travels to Venice Beach, inspires and falls in love – all to the music of Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton-John, of course. If you can’t make it out Saturday, Xanadu will also be performed at 8 p.m. Friday night.
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5 p.m. Sunday, free
Thursday Night Concerts aren’t returning to the Green alone this September – Canned Acoustica will also make its return since going on hiatus in 2012. Each show in the popular unplugged concert series features a mix of local or regional bands from a variety of genres, and Sunday’s lineup boasts Los Skarnales, Gio Chamba, Us., Genesis Blu and Romina Von Mohr. Everyone is encouraged to bring a canned food item to be donated to the Houston Food Bank, and limited edition Canned Acoustica T-shirts will be available (the proceeds of which will benefit Discovery Green Conservancy’s music education programs).
Affections book signing
7 p.m. Tuesday, free
Rodrigo Hasbún’s U.S. debut, Affections, translated by Sophie Hughes, is loosely based on the real-life Ertl family, including patriarch Hans, who once served as Leni Riefenstahl’s cameraman before fleeing to Bolivia, and daughter Monika, who joined the Marxist guerrillas there. In short work, Hasbún fictionalizes the breakdown of this family, as they trek through a rainforest in the 1960s, but don’t let the book’s length fool you; Kirkus says it “gallops across a half-century’s worth of transformations in Bolivia, and sections narrated by individual characters are marked by a surprising depth of emotional detail given the story’s brevity.” University of Houston English professor and translator Hosam Aboul-Ela will join Hasbún in conversation Tuesday night at Brazos.