Short on cash but long on entertainment? No worries, because we've got the 411 on how to have fun this week without breaking the bank. With the news coming out of Washington, we've been taking a closer look at the marginalization of Americans, so it comes as no surprise that these themes are showing up in arts and culture. Author Patricia Bernstein documents a time when the Ku Klux Klan numbered in the millions, the Holocaust Museum has a lecture about inmate physicians in concentration camps and a local historian uncovers the fact that newly freed African-Americans walked east toward Houston from Brazos River plantations after emancipation. 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.
Beneath Houston Streets: Upper Buffalo Bayou & the San Felipe Trail in the 19th Century
The Heritage Society
Noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Free to $5
We weren't the first settlers in Houston, nor is there much physical evidence about those adventurers who first set up camp along the Buffalo Bayou. Now fifth generation Houstonian Dan Michael Worrall – who has been working on a project to bring historical markers to key spots in Harris County – will reveal some of H-Town's secrets during the next Jerry & Marvy Finger Lecture Series. Learn how ox wagons full of cotton rolled east to Harrisburg, early European settlers set up camp at Piney Point, and Reconstruction-era cowboys assembled longhorn cattle near present-day Shepherd Drive.
Gael Stack, "Untitled (Tinies)"
5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, free
No stranger to art, Gael Stack has been painting for 40 years, and about six years ago the University of Texas Press published the first retrospective monograph of her career. Her abstracts use fragments of words and images applied in layers, allowing the past and the present to interact and rise to the surface, similar to our own perceptions and memories. Her work has been exhibited at notable institutions, including The Menil Collection, but we'll get a chance to view 16 new (and tiny) oil paintings over at Moody Gallery on Colquitt's Gallery Row. There's an artist talk at 5:30 p.m., and the exhibit remains up through April 13.
Ten Dollars to Hate: The Texas Man Who Fought the Klan book signing
7 p.m. Friday, free
During the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan numbered in the millions and had infiltrated both politics and law enforcement, making it a catch-22 for anybody trying to right their horrific wrongs. One courageous man — a 29-year-old Texas district attorney — demonstrated that Klansmen could, in fact, be punished for taking the law into their own hands. Dan Moody convicted and won significant prison time for five Klansmen during a tense 1923 courtroom battle in Georgetown, Texas; that early triumph made headline news and Moody went on to become the youngest governor of Texas at the age of 33. Houston author Patricia Bernstein documented this brutal chapter in America's history, and will be on hand to discuss and sign copies of her book at Brazos Bookstore.
Turquoise by Deb Margolin
3 p.m. Sunday, pay what you can starting at $10
Obie Award-winning playwright Deb Margolin twists dialogue and scenes about memory into fast-paced banter in Turquoise, a "three plays in one" evening that tells the story of love, symbiosis and mortality through the eyes of an aging married couple, a pair of teenage boys, and a pianist who forgets everything after seven seconds. Hello, stranger. It's presented in Houston by Next Iteration Theater Company and directed by dianne k. webb. Performances are scheduled March 17 through April 1, so check the calendar for several add-ons including talk-backs, American Sign Language accompaniment and a pair of industry nights. This one's pay what you can, with tickets beginning at $10; if you like what you see, though, consider supporting productions like this and meet or exceed the suggested $25 price.
Flea by Night presented by Green Mountain Energy®
6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, free
It's picking season again, but not all the bargains are out in the country. Head downtown for some good old-fashioned treasure-hunting among the vintage, handmade, recycled, repurposed and renewed junque at Flea by Night. One man's trash is another man's treasure, so come see what local artists and makers have done to up the value of these objets d'art.
Noche Caliente featuring Ray de la Paz
Miller Outdoor Theatre
8 p.m. Saturday, free
This event is hot, hot, hot, with Ray de la Paz, who, along with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, took home Grammy wins for best salsa/meringue album in 2004 (Across 110th Street) and best tropical Latin album in 2010 (Viva La Tradición). This Saturday night he'll be joined by H-Town's own youth group, Caliente, with direction by Jose Antonio Diaz. Insider tip: Free tickets for the covered seating area are available day-of, between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and there's always open seating on "Hippie Hill" for the blanket and picnic-basket set.
Staged reading of All Things Evolve
7 p.m. Sunday, pay what you can or by donation
Did the school board take things too far? In this conundrum wrapped up in a play by Carl Williams, a teacher instructs his class about evolution. But when a student asks a question about creationism and the teacher responds, he's called to task by the higher-ups. All Things Evolve is the third in the six-series New Works Program and Reading Series at the "paint-still-smells-fresh" Queensbury Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; there will be a talk-back session with the playwright after the performance.
The Dumb Girl of Portici
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
7 p.m. Friday, $7 to $9
5 p.m. Sunday, $7 to $9
The world-famous ballerina/choreographer Anna Pavlova plays Fenella, a mute fisher-girl who gets tangled up with a Spanish nobleman during the Spanish occupation of Naples in the mid-17th century. The tryst is ill-fated and, aided by the oppression of Neapolitan people, a revolution is incited. See why director Lois Weber became the highest-paid filmmaker in the world during her time. The Dumb Girl of Portici has been restored by the Library of Congress and An Affair with Film.
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The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes book signing
Murder By The Book
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, free
Whether you're a fan of super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes through the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or you jumped on board with Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch, there's no denying this character detects circles around mere mortals. In the latest from author Lyndsay Faye, follow Holmes's career from young upstart to his faked death over a Swiss waterfall and on into his storied career. Faye also will sign copies of Jane Steele, which has just been nominated as a finalist for the Mystery Writers Association's Edgar Award for Best Novel.
Inmate Physicians in Nazi Concentration Camps: Scope for Action Available to Them, and Dilemmas They Faced
Holocaust Museum Houston
6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, free
The Hippocratic Oath became an impossible, elusive goal for doctors tasked with treating patients in concentration camps. There were too many patients, not enough resources and, if the healing wasn't speedy enough, the infirm were selected for death. In this lecture by Dr. Ley, deputy director of Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, learn how these inmate physicians were faced with moral and ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. This one is free, but registration is required.