It's an eclectic week in Houston, with the emotions ranging from cute and colorful (costumed pups at Historic Market Square Park and amazing body painting by Rudy Campos) to dark and grim (the sobering stats of the refugee crisis and a new flick about serial killers). It's also a time for milestones, with Booker•Lowe Gallery celebrating 15 years in our community and the 30th anny for the General Sam Houston fest (go Texas). None of these offerings will break the bank, including three performances of Stanton Welch's signature piece, Madame Butterfly. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — and six of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
Annenberg Space for Photography's "REFUGEE"
Silver Street Studios
6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, free
As countries around the world grapple with the "problem" of refugees, it's time to dig deeper and look at the who and why of this global phenomenon. Every day, tens of thousands of people make the decision to flee their homes to escape violence or prosecution, risking harm, capture or even death. The global crisis is far-reaching; one out of every 122 people is a refugee, and the numbers of those displaced now exceed 65 million. FotoFest International plays host to a new exhibit by The Annenberg Space for Photography, with dramatic images from acclaimed photographers Linsey Addario, Omar Victor Diop, Graciela Iturbide, Martin Schoeller and Tom Stoddart, with additional images from international contributors. For those who can't make the opening reception, the exhibit can be viewed Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through July 15.
Performance: Texas Noise and Ambience
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, free
Anything and everything ends up in the compositions by Illicit Relationship (Carol Sandin Cooley and Austin Cooley). She's spent years in the local experimental and underground music scene (Poor Dumb Bastards, Glass Snake Lizards), while he has hosted Genetic Memory, KTRU's sound-oddity showcase, for the past 24 years. The first 50 visitors get swag: a CD with a song from Illicit Relationship, as well as featured headliners Lily Taylor (The Ride), James Templeton (aka LIMB), Raceway's Bryan Porter and Carlos Pozo, Splendid Emblem's Collin Hedrick and Jason Fields, and experimentalist Tanner Garza.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, free
Choreographer (and artistic director of the Houston Ballet) Stanton Welch's signature piece, Madame Butterfly, has been performed around the world since its 1995 premiere, and now it's coming to the hill courtesy of Houston Ballet and Miller Outdoor Theatre. View this timeless love story, set in mysterious 19th-century Japan, about the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San, who gives up everything to marry the handsome American naval officer. Don't miss the ravishing wedding night pas de deux at the end of the first act. The evening also includes a performance of Welch's Son of Chamber Symphony.
30th Annual General Sam Houston Folk Festival
Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Homestead, Huntsville
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, free to $5
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, free to $5
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, free to $5
It's a tip of the Texian's hat to Sam Houston; were it not for the general's incredible victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, Texas independence might not have been secured. So let's celebrate the Lone Star State's historic past with re-enactors in full costume and regalia (look for famous scout Deaf Smith), cultural exhibits, Sahawe Indian dancers and retro demonstrations about rustic life on the frontier: cannon and rifle fire, blacksmithing, glass-blowing and woodworking. Be sure to step out of the way during the 18th Texas State Knife & Tomahawk Champion; you never know when a thrower might miss his mark. That's hosted on Saturday and Sunday by world champion Chris Miller and his wife, Sarah; plus there's a knife and whip show over on the main stage.
Puppies for Breakfast
Historic Market Square Park
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, free
We can assure you, no animals are harmed during the making of this outdoor dog festival. Organizer Hector Garcia, along with Neue Creative and Modular Dog, celebrates man's best friend with adoptable pups, rescue groups, vendors and doggy costume contests. Plus, the smallest dog competition is cuteness on crack; everybody will break a smile when Garcia holds up the itty-bitty victor. Try your chance at the piñata (it's Duke, from The Secret Life of Pets), jam to live music and nosh on yummies from Niko Niko's and local food trucks.
USA Swimming Foundation: Make a Splash Tour
Various locations in Houston and surrounding area
10 a.m. to noon, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Olympic Gold medalists Simone Manuel, Cullen Jones and Rowdy Gaines are touring the country with the USA Swimming Foundation, talking about the importance of swim lessons for saving lives. While Manuel and Jones were in H-Town on Friday for an exclusive press conference, a few lucky Houstonians are getting a chance to take swim lessons this Saturday at the Dad's Club, Trotter Family YMCA, the Salvation Army and the HCAP Julia C. Hester House. For the rest of us? Let's take the advice of these world champions and sign up for some lessons, stat. Click here to find swim lesson providers near you or to join a swim team.
Hounds of Love
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Mason Park
Time TBD Monday and Tuesday, $10
With an unprecedented 100 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this smartly constructed psychological thriller is sure to go far. It opens at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on May 12, but we've got to wait for the Monday-through-Thursday slots for those $10 tickets. In Australia in the mid-1980s, a young woman makes some bad decisions and finds herself abducted by a serial killer couple, soon realizing that she will surely die unless drastic measures are taken. There are more than a few nasty surprises in this one.
Avenida Living Art
Discovery Green and Avenida Houston
7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, free
With a revolving lineup of talented artists, each Tuesday's Avenida Living Art is always a blast. This week look for special guest Houston artist Rudy Campos (Rcc Creations), who will be doing body paint to create a blended beauty using a camouflage effect. Campos rose to national recognition during season two of Skin Wars, which aired on the Game Show Network and was hosted by Rebecca Romijn, with RuPaul Charles, Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina serving as judges. Here in Houston, those in the know call on Campos for these amazing transformations, from amateur enthusiasts getting ready for a convention to professional performers.
"The Call of Country: New Paintings by Australian Aboriginal Artists of Ampilatwatja”
3 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, free
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday (and through May 20), free
While many Australian indigenous communities paint their Dreamings, or clan creation stories, the women of the Ampilatwatja region decided to do things their way. They paint only their ancestral country (where the creation stories took place) and chart the seasons of their region (the land is either "wet" or "dry") with precisely dotted background patterns overlain with colorful plants and trees. There's a champagne reception in celebration of the gallery's 15th anniversary on Saturday afternoon, then come back May 17-20 to view the paintings up close without all the crowds.
Io che amo solo te (I, Who Loves Only You)
Italian Cultural & Community Center
7:15 p.m. Wednesday, $5 to $10
The Contemporary Italian Film Series continues with this disastrous love story about two young people who are about to get married. They soon discover that, years before, her mother was supposed to marry his father, but their dream of love and marriage never came about. Secrets are revealed and these young lovers are forced to learn the true meaning of love. In Italian with English subtitles. Reserve your seat on eventbrite or by calling 713-524-4222, extension 7.
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