The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: How I Learned to Drive, Tommy Gregory and More

Eleven local artists are being inducted into the Houston Artists Hall of Fame at this year’s Houston Fine Art Fair. Now in its fifth year, the fair features more than 60 Texas-based art institutions exhibiting over a four-day period, including Friday

Four of the painters being added to the Hall of Fame — Gael Stack, Joseph Glasco, Richard Stout and Dick Wray — represent the older generation. “The older artists are well known in Houston and have reputations elsewhere, nationally and some international,” says Patricia Covo Johnson, author of Contemporary Art in Texas. She selected the three younger painters — Mark Flood, David Aylsworth and Aaron Parazette — for the strength of their work. “Though they may not be as well known, I believe their paintings can stand up in the context of their older counterparts.” The sculptors being inducted are Troy Woods, Bill Steffy, Ed Wilson and the team of Dan Havel and Dean Ruck. “My interest in making the selections for Hall of Fame was to show major works, like the Joseph Glasco painting in four double-sided panels (which is in a private collection), and offer a glimpse of Havel/Ruck, whose site-specific installations are powerful but temporal,” says Johnson. “Another criterion was to highlight Houston artists of note who I believe should be even better known.”

Regular viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. NRG Center, 1 Reliant Parkway. For information, call 631-283-5505 or visit $20 to $125. 

It’s been 50 years since the Beatles’ one and only appearance in Houston. The Houston Symphony has a special tribute for the occasion, the kickoff of BBVA Compass Pops Season, with Music of the Beatles. The orchestra, along with a cappella sextet Rajaton, is set to perform Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety during the Friday - Saturday run. 

“It’s going to be a different approach to this music but one that I think — if people are real familiar with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — they’re going to love it, because they’re going to hear it from a different perspective, but one that’s very creative,” says Principal POPS Conductor Michael Krajewski. “Those that are not super-familiar with the album, they will enjoy it immensely because these arrangements really bring out the best of what’s on the album.”

In Finland, Rajaton is viewed as a pop phenomenon; they’ve earned eight gold records and sold more than 100,000 albums worldwide. “I’ve worked with them before, and they’re amazing,” says Krajewski.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as No. 1 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. “For many, it exists not only as the quintessential 1960s album, but quite possibly the most significant and influential LP of all time. As the de facto sound track for the ‘Summer of Love,’ the album is more than mere Technicolor, featuring songs that address a range of psychedelic perspectives,” says Monmouth University’s Kenneth Womack, PhD, author of The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. “‘A Day in the Life,’ arguably the Fab Four’s most luminous achievement, should prove to be especially powerful,” says Womack.

Expect to hear “Let It Be,” “All You Need Is Love” and “Eleanor Rigby” during the second half of the concert.

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit $25 to $140. 

Artist David Adickes is well known for his oversize presidential busts or his statue “Big Sam” near Huntsville. It’s his earlier works that will be featured as part of the “Midcentury Montage: Art Works by Three Houston Founders” exhibit at William Reaves Fine Art, one of our suggestions for Saturday.

After training in Paris with Cubist pioneer Fernand Léger, Adickes returned to Houston in 1950. “He kind of brought a ‘School of Paris’ look to Houston and his works were just really well-received, very fresh, colorful works, very Picasso-esque or Cubist in their nature,” says Bill Reaves, founder and president of the gallery. “He and his colleague Herb Mears were a sensation in the early ’50s.” As his career evolved, he perfected his trademark “tall, skinny men,” grouping them as poets, writers and musicians, or on the beach or in seascapes; other works featured Cubist still lifes. “What we’re showing is the very earliest renditions of those, when he’s inventing and beginning to perfect those things.”

The exhibit also will feature current works by husband and wife artists Henri Gadbois and Leila McConnell, both of whom held tenures at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s school.

“There are a handful of Leila’s newest paintings here, right off the easel, and also a collection of collages,” says Reaves. “There’s this really soft, ethereal atmospheric effect in her work, very gripping, very contemplative.”

While serving as a docent at Bayou Bend, Gadbois discovered the need for realistic table settings featuring lifelike foods. “He has created a whole line of what he has called ‘faux foods,’ and those are on tables of every major historic home in the country,” says Reaves. “Each piece he actually does sculpt, and then layers on the paint to achieve an authentic kind of look.”

There are artist talks 2 to 4 p.m. September 12 and 19. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Through September 19. 2143 West-heimer. For information, call 713-521-7500 or visit Free. 

The theater season is back in full swing and we are thrilled about it! One of the early highlights, we expect, is How I Learned to Drive, a collaboration between The Landing Theatre Company and Obsidian Theater. As is Landing Theatre tradition, the show has a Sunday opening. 

The writing in Paula Vogel’s drama is brilliant and subtle. That’s not just our opinion; the drama earned Vogel a Pulitzer Prize. The play blurs the lines between black and white, turning a predator into a sympathetic character and granting power to a victim.

Equity actress Kara Greenberg plays Li’l Bit, the young woman at the center of the story. Li’l Bit recalls her relationship with her Uncle Peck. Using a deliberately jumbled chronology, Li’l Bit reveals that, from age 11 to 18, she had a physical, sexual relationship with her adult uncle.

“I…happen to play the horrible Uncle Peck. It’s not as dark, and he’s not as horrible as you’d imagine,” says Tom Stell, executive director of Obsidian. “At every turn in the play, [Vogel] makes the relationship more complex and nuanced so that you don’t hate him. He loves her so much. It’s like an onion, when you peel it back. It’s very complex, very packed with good writing,” Stell says.

“[The Landing Theatre Company] came to us with the play and then with the director already assigned to it.” Paige Kiliany is directing. “I hope to work with her again; she’s really, really good,” says Stell. “The technical people are all high-powered people.” The design team includes Erica Griese, Alex Worthington, Thomas Murphy and Clinton Hopper.

There are preview performances at 8 p.m. September 4 and 5. Regular performances are 3 p.m. Saturdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays. Through September 26. 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-889-7837 or visit $18 to $20.

Screenshots of online conversations about religion have been converted into 11- by 17-inch framed prints for the exhibit “Tommy Gregory: Unloading,” another one of our Sunday picks.  “I’ve been trolling friends on Facebook and I’ve been posting different Bible verses,” says Gregory, an artist-cum-philosopher. “I’m not trying to attack or mock religion; they’re inspirational quotes. A lot of times I get funny responses, and other times I get angry messages. People don’t want religion pushed on them; others don’t want religion mocked.”

Inspired by Sharon Kopriva’s dark Catholic imagery as well as Ed Wilson’s room-size installation in his recent exhibit “A Survey,” Gregory has fashioned his own interactive confessionals. The exhibit includes a four-foot-tall animated neon piece titled Holy Loading, which takes its colors from the Taco Cabana logo. “It’s about the fast-food mentality, like with speed dating where you talk for a minute and then you leave. Recently I tried to go to confession on my lunch break downtown, to one of the really big Catholic churches, and the line was out the door.”He also has a five-foot panel titled False Idol, which contains labels from 750 Modelo beer bottles. “It’s kind of a poor man’s Byzantine art. It kind of goes with the holy theme,” says Gregory. Instead of dark and brooding confessionals, Gregory is using whitewashed wood. “My work is going to be pristine. I want the wood grain to show through, but I want it to look clean and contemporary, like a model home,” says Gregory. “[It’s about] eliminating ourselves from the digital reality, from Facebook. It’s totally fake, -almost like a phone booth.”

There’s an opening reception 6 to 9 p.m. September 5. Regular viewing hours are noon to 5 pm. Wednesdays through Sundays. Through September 27. Redbud Gallery, 303 East 11th. For information, call 713?862?2532 or visit Free.

Susie Tommaney contributed to this post. 
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