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The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Comicpalooza and Star Wars

Comicpalooza is this weekend Friday through Sunday.
Comicpalooza is this weekend Friday through Sunday.
Photo courtesy of CW
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If you're a nerd in Houston with a wardrobe of costumes waiting to be seen, then this is your weekend. Not only is Comicpalooza this weekend, Friday through Sunday, but the Houston Dynamo will be hosting their second annual Star Wars night. That means not only will you be among other Marvel and DC aficionados who live for a weekend like this, but you'll get to do it all in fantastic cosplay style. And remember, shoes are required, so yes, you are allowed to go as the Hulk, you just have to keep your shoes on.

Introduce them while they're young and they'll be sure to thank you.EXPAND
Introduce them while they're young and they'll be sure to thank you.
Photo by Trask Smith, Houston Dynamo

Don’t go mental if you’re standing in a concessions line at BBVA Compass Stadium behind R2-D2. It’s all part of the second annual Houston Dynamo Star Wars Night, which ties in with Comicpalooza. Before the Dynamo kick off against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Star Wars characters will line the orange carpet on the field. Throughout the night, they’ll mingle on the concourse, where fans (dressed up in comic gear or otherwise) can grab photos with many of George Lucas’s creations. For a pretty sweet price, folks can score a game ticket and a limited-edition Dynamo Star Wars scarf; additionally, select lucky ducks have a chance to win a copy of Rogue One this Friday. “It’s fun to see the characters interact with the kids who have just started watching Star Wars and the older adults who grew up on it,” says Dynamo spokeswoman Valerie Holland.

8 p.m. Friday. 2200 Texas. For information, call 713-276-4625 or visit houstondynamo.com/starwars. $36.

Don't mess with Texas.
Don't mess with Texas.
Photo by Casey Roon

It's a tip of the Texan'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 at the 30th Annual General Sam Houston Folk Festival this Friday. We're talking 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. It all goes down on the 15-acre grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Homestead.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 12; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 13; noon to 5 p.m. May 14. 1836 Sam Houston Avenue, Huntsville. For information, call 936-294-1832 or visit samhoustonfolkfestival.blogspot.com. Free to $5.

Funny man Chris Rock will perform back-to-back shows at Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre.EXPAND
Funny man Chris Rock will perform back-to-back shows at Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre.
Photo courtesy of Ticketmaster

Hard to believe, but Chris Rock is now a senior statesman on the stand-up circuit. Despite his roles in films like New Jack City and CB4 — and even his somewhat underplayed stint on Saturday Night Live — Rock truly broke through on ’90s HBO specials like Bring the Pain. Besides his up-and-down movie career, Rock’s personal peaks and valleys are a main theme throughout his stand-up set, including his successes and failings as a father and husband; his divorce finalized last year. Also expect some political opining, about which the once-controversial Rock has never been shy. Demand for his Saturday show, Total Blackout Tour at Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre, was so high that another show has been scheduled for Friday night as well. $69 to $125.

7:00 p.m. Saturday. Also 8:00 p.m. May 12. 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-207-6278 or visit smartfinancialcentre.net.

When John Simons sought to bring a legitimate comic con to Texas for the first time since the early 1980s, it took some legitimately hard work. “Houston had a terrible reputation. It was really hard with people in the industry — the vendors, exhibitors, agents, guests and all the people that you need,” says Simons, CEO of Comicpalooza producer Startling Events. “The people of Houston were always behind it,” Simons explains, “but it was essentially a sales call.” Held in 2008, the first Comicpalooza took place in a movie-theater lobby; this year’s event will consume more than 1.1 million square feet of the George R. Brown Convention Center. On tap are panel discussions, cosplay, gaming and celebrities including Chuck Norris, who Simons says hasn’t posted up at a comic con since 1974. Plan your Saturday accordingly to catch Norris's panel discussion at 11 a.m. with photo ops at 1 p.m., and return on Sunday for your chance to meet Jason David Frank, the original green power ranger.

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Also 10 a.m. to midnight May 12, 10 a.m. to midnight May 13. 1001 Avenida De Las Americas. For information, visit comicpalooza.com. $10 to $275.

Lobby Hero showing through June 3 at Spring Street Studios.EXPAND
Lobby Hero showing through June 3 at Spring Street Studios.
Photo by Gabriella Nissen

Jeff is a nightwatchman in a middle-income Manhattan apartment. He’s in his late twenties, probably not living up to his potential, but his habit of talking too much makes it a good job for him. He gets drawn into a murder investigation involving his strict supervisor’s troubled brother, which also brings in another parallel pair: a veteran police officer and his young female partner. There are secrets enough to go around and Jeff has only bad options to sort through. Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero wraps comedy, drama and romance into one neat package (and is much lighter in tone than his recent hit movie Manchester by the Sea, according to Kim Tobin-Lehl, co-director of this 4th Wall Theatre Co. production with Jennifer Dean). Actor Adam Gibbs takes a break from musical theater to play Jeff, saying: “He is a very good-spirited, light-hearted, well-intentioned individual, but what speaks to me about Jeff and about this play generally is that all of the characters are very flawed. All four characters, you see them stuck between right and wrong. I think that the flaws are what makes these characters real to me.” The play’s two acts run about two hours, with intermission; also starring are Chelsea Ryan McCurdy as the young police officer, Drake Simpson as her older partner, and Joe Palmore as Jeff’s boss. Lobby Hero takes the stage this Sunday, giving you time to get mom a card before taking her to the theater.

3 p.m. Sunday. Continuing 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 29. Through June 3. Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832-786-1849 or visit 4thwalltheatreco.com. $15 to $49; pay what you can May 29.

Margaret Downing, Clint Hale, Steve Jansen and Susie Tommaney contributed to this post.

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