Some of us (mostly type A folks who were busy filing tax returns instead of embracing the Super Bowl frenzy) are starting to see IRS refunds deposited in accounts this week. For the rest of us, we're still on the lookout for cool ways to have fun in the Bayou City without breaking the bank. We've got readings at the Alley and Rec Room, some outdoor fun at Discovery Green and the new Avenida Houston district and, sure and begorrah, a couple of Saint Patrick's parades this weekend. 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.
The Day Clocks Spoke Russian book signing
7 p.m. Thursday, free
Longtime UHD professor (computer and applied mathematical sciences) André de Korvin, Ph.D. has a poet's heart; his own father, Vladimir Korvin-Piotrowsky, was a significant poet in Russia. Now the Berlin-born, Paris-raised expert in fuzzy logic (he has published more than 200 scholarly articles) is out with a new book of poems that offers a unique perspective on war, terror, displacement and loss. Dr. de Korvin will discuss his anthology, published by Transcendent Zero Press, and also sign copies at Brazos Bookstore.
French Cultures Festival Kick-Off concert
6 to 10 p.m. Friday, free
Laure Briard and her band are flying in from Toulouse, France, so there's literally no excuse for us not to head down to the Green to soak in the kick-off concert for the monthlong cultures festival. Headliners include Austin-based The Bluebonnets and They Call Me Rico, a one-man band originally from Québec, Canada, and now calling Lyon maison. The Friday night soiree is free, so come out and partake in cuisine from vendors and Francophone countries. Oui, oui.
Listen Around Your Way
6 p.m. Saturday, free
If you haven't yet checked out The MATCH, the super-awesome event space that comes alive in the evenings with music, dance, theater and art, then make this your scouting mission. Organizers Sandy Ewen and Rebecca Nowak are using people as instruments, placing them at key spots where they will perform and sing individually and collectively in the lobby of The MATCH building, where DiverseWorks hangs its hat. Some of the performers (Nowak and Ewen along with Andrew Durham, Megan Easley, Danny Kamins, Austin Lewellen, Mlee Mains and Emmy Tisdel) will travel along colorful taped lines, though this looks much more fun than navigating hospital corridors.
Texas Ranger Day
Burton Railroad Depot
Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, free
Step back in time and celebrate the legacy of the fighting Texas Rangers, who, under Captain John Coffee "Jack " Hays, helped repel the Mexican invasions of 1842 when Mexico refused to recognize our state's independence. This annual extravaganza replicates camp life (circa 1880) with demonstrations and crafts, offers tours of the Railroad Depot and Cotton Gin, and turns the whole shebang into a party with a DJ and all-you-can-eat fajitas and beans for $5 to $10.
58th Annual Houston Saint Patrick's Parade
Minute Maid Park
Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, free
We're celebrating Saint Patrick's Day with two awesome parades this year. Everybody's Irish come Saturday when the annual Saint Patrick's Parade kicks off at the clock tower at the Juice Box, with plenty of car clubs and bands showing their stuff for the judges at the reviewing stand. A tip o' the leprechaun's hat to this year's grand marshal, Ginger Simon, who has her work cut out for her. The theme for this year is "Living Green in Seventeen," and don't miss the after-party and awards ceremony at Lucky's Pub, where the lucky winners make everybody else green with envy.
39th Annual FM 1960 Saint Patrick's Parade
FM 1960 / Cypress Creek Parkway (from Champion Forest to Kuykendahl)
1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, free
The Budweiser Clydesdales are back, joining more than 100 floats, fire trucks, Irish dancers and performing groups as they parade down FM 1960, all vying for top honors in originality, creativity, appearance, craftsmanship and crowd appeal. Find respite at the Home Depot (4159 FM 1960 West), where they'll have vendors, food, drink and "relief stations," then hit up MaK's Place Sports Bar and Grill at 6 p.m. when they hand out the awards for best floats in youth, adult and spirit categories.
Alley All New Reading Series: Pilgrims
7:30 p.m. Monday, free
These are not the pilgrims found in Thanksgiving lore. In this sci-fi drama, playwright Claire Kiechel quarantines a teenage girl and a soldier in close quarters on a spacecraft headed to a newly discovered planet. The complex characters reflect America's own journey and the predicament of perhaps never changing and moving on from our country's past. The 90-minute reading, directed by Alley Resident Assistant Director Brandon Weinbrenner and including Alley Resident Company members Melissa Pritchett and Jay Sullivan as well as Houston actor Melissa Molano, will be followed by a post-performance conversation with Kiechel led by Elizabeth Frankel. Reservations are recommended.
Movies Houstonians Love: A Raisin in the Sun
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
7 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, $7 to $9
Mayor Sylvester Turner joins a very long list of Houstonians who have selected a favorite flick to screen at MFAH. He'll be in attendance Monday night to introduce this 1961 film about an African-American family in Chicago in search of the American dream, in spite of experiencing resistance from their white neighbors. Director Daniel Petrie was recognized at Cannes, but it's the words of playwright and screenwriter Lorraine Hansberry that ensure a place in history for this classic gem. Stars Sidney Poitier as the ambitious son and Claudia McNeil as the widow who wants to relocate.
Misnomers' Sci-Fi Mondays: Plan 9 from Outer Space
8 to 9 p.m. Monday, $10
Edward Davis Wood Jr. was crowned, postmortem, the world's worst director. But taste is subjective, and this complex and prolific filmmaker is perhaps best known for penning Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, Jail Bait and the sci-fi drama Plan 9 from Outer Space. Come on down to the Rec Room for a staged reading of this classic 1959 film about space aliens resurrecting the dead so that they can conquer Planet Earth, though we're not sure an army of zombies and vampires is the best way to go.
Avenida Living Art
7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, free
What is Avenida Houston? Long story short, it's H-Town's newest dining, entertainment and arts district, a promenade of sorts framed by George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green and a pair of swanky, posh hotels (Hilton Americas-Houston and Marriott Marquis). Come out each Tuesday, March 14-May 30, to see a rotating lineup of art performances, including ice carving and live painting.
David Joy, Owen Laukkanen and Chevy Stevens book signings
Murder By The Book
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, free
It's a three-for-one special over at our favorite indie bookseller of all things crime- and murder-related. Novelist David Joy (Where All Light Tends to Go) will discuss and sign copies of The Weight of This World; and former professional poker journalist Owen Laukkanen (The Watcher in the Wall) will talk about The Forgotten Girls, a suspenseful crime drama in which agents Stevens and Windermere turn their efforts to victims no one has ever cared about. Joining them is New York Times bestselling author Chevy Stevens (Still Missing), who will sign copies of Never Let You Go.
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