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The 5 Best Things to Do This Weekend: "Lights of Houston," Author Ingrid Thoft, the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix and More

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The Brazilian Arts Foundation Cultural Center says, "Thank you, Houston!" on Friday with the "Lights of Houston," an interactive light painting art exhibit. Mauricio Campos, president and founder of the foundation, says "We are celebrating the transformation happening in the Buffalo Bayou by using light painting in several spots along the bayou, our way of thanking a city and community that has always supported us." The talented husband-wife team Matt Crawford and Che Rickman photographed Brazilian dancers and capoeira practitioners at familiar Houston landmarks, using "light painting" to capture their energy and power. (Light painting is a photographic technique dating back to the late 1880s, basically capturing moving light in a still photograph.)

See "Lights of Houston" 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Brazilian Arts Foundation Cultural Center, 1133 East 11th Street. For information, call 713-862-3300 or visit brazilianarts.org. Free.

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On Friday, Murder by the Book hosts novelist Ingrid Thoft who's signing her just released Identity. Thoft has created a popular and off-beat character in Fina Ludlow, a private investigator at the center of Thoft's mystery series, including the . Ludlow frequently gets beat up (both her clients and competitors are prone to take a swing at her). She has a seriously screwed up family (her hotshot lawyer father/boss expects her absolute loyalty in all things, including supporting her pedophile brother). And her love life is in, um, transition (she's being replaced in both of her friends-with-benefits relationships).

And she's reluctant to take on her her latest assignment, to uncover the identity of an anonymous sperm donor who fathered several children, now in their teens. It's a scandal waiting to happen, she thinks. Never mind that the donors were promised confidentiality and that the cryrobank doesn't want to open its records, the teens themselves aren't really interested in finding the donor. But one mom is on crusade to give all cryobank clients, both donors and offspring, full access to all records about their relations whether they want it or not.

At her father's insistence, Ludlow does some unenthusiastic digging around and uncovers the man's identity. A few hours later the man is dead. Oops! Did Ludlow's investigation lead to the murder? Is the killer one of the teens the man fathered? Or one of the moms? Ludlow can't just walk away now that she might have set all this in motion.

Thoft reads from and signs copies of Identity at 6:30 p.m. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-524-8597 or visit murderbooks.com. Free.

Events celebrating LGBT pride are scheduled throughout the month of June; among the not-to-missed events is the Pride Festival and Pride Parade which is set for Saturday. A number of musical performers, including Pride Superstar contestants past and present, are scheduled to perform at the festival. The parade, one of the largest in Houston and few night-time pride parades in the country, will include grand marshals Christina Canales Gorczynski, J.D. Doyle and Sarah and Fernando Aramburo.

Spread over several blocks in the Montrose/Westheimer area, the festival is 1 to 7 p.m. and the parade, is 8:15 to 11 p.m. on Saturday. For information, visit pridehouston.org. Free.

Also on Saturday is a look at the African American experience from the inside out at Fade to Black - A Series of New Works Written by African American Playwrights, in for a weekend run at Obsidian Art Space . Now in its second year, Fade to Black features 10 new plays, all of which deal with the black experience in some way. There's Stacey Rose's My Pet (and no we're not talking about an animal here) and Melanie Ernestina Burke's Saving Grace (about Hollywood's view of black actors). Burke, by the way is pulling double duty; her play is being performed and she's acting Juanita Harvey's Long Distance Love.

Fade to Black, touted as the first theater festival to showcase the new works of African American playwrights, is the brainchild of producer/director S. Denise O'Neal, (see photo) recently named a Houston Press 100 Creatives. She'll be on hand during Friday's announcement of play named audience favorite and festival winner.

See Fade to Black at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Obsidian Art Space, 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-877-7609 or visit mslilysgroove.com. $20.

The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston presented by the Greater Houston Honda Dealers, one of the city's premiere sporting events, has a great family-friendly mix of music, exhibits, games, fun zone and demonstrations in addition to the all-important races. The action's set for NRG Center (formerly Reliant Center). On Friday night, there's a concert while Saturday and Sunday, the race takes center stage as stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series hit more than 180 miles per hour on an especially constructed 1.7-mile, 10-turn track.

Managing Director Austin Crossley says, "The Grand Prix of Houston is proud to host some of the best IndyCar drivers in the world ... We have a number of drivers coming to Houston ... ready to compete in our three day festival of speed." New to the Grand Prix this year is the Radical ride-along (the chance to be a passenger in a Radical SR3 SL or Radical RXC Coupe) and Gulf Coast Vintage Racing Series (with both sedan and open wheel racing).

The Grand Prix of Houston runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. NRG Park (formerly Reliant Park), One Reliant Park. For information, call 713-659-7223 or visit grandprixofhouston.com. $10 to $135.

Jim J. Tommaney contributed to this post.

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