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The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Cosplay, Comedy & Creativity

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With the I.R.S. extending the deadline for submitting personal tax returns until Monday, let's all procrastinate just a little bit longer and embrace Houston's creative spirit this weekend. There's the fan support for Houston Dynamo (you don't have to sing well, just sing loudly), and the elaborate cosplay competition at Japan Festival of Houston. Sunday's line-up includes the Houston Music and Arts Hall of Fame induction celebration, while hometown fave Jason Moran is inviting a few friends from the blues, jazz and hip-hop worlds to meet him at MacGregor Park (due to inclement weather, he's meeting up at the Shrine of the Black Madonna instead).

The Houston Dynamo used its first bye week of the 2016 season to recover from a couple of injuries, so head coach Owen Coyle has almost a full roster when we battle longtime rivals LA Galaxy and powerhouse Bruce Arena (the only five-time MLS Cup-winning head coach). We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves, too, including new players and tremendous fan support, our recommendation for a great way to spend "forever orange" Friday night. “We’ve had a really good start for the season. We’ve set an MLS record, including a 5-0 win over our rivals Dallas in mid-March,” says Matt Pederson, senior communications manager for the Dynamo. He says we’ve traded for Andrew Wenger and Cristian “Chaco” Maidana and we’ve got Will Bruin, who already has three goals. “[We’ve got] a really good attacking team.” Fan support this year has been combined and moved to the north end of the stadium, which means that things are only going to get louder. “El Batallon is one of them; they have drums they bang almost throughout the entire game,” says Pederson. “The Texian Army does a lot of singing.” Before it’s over, you’ll be singing “Forza Houston,” “Dale Dale Dale Dynamo” (pronounced dah-lay) and “We Are Orange” like a pro.

5:45 p.m. Friday. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. For information, call 713-276-7500 or visit houstondynamo.com. $28 to $136. 

You’ll definitely see a few Lolitas at this year’s “J-Fest,” but it won’t be easy to snag those round-trip tickets to Japan; cosplay judges Cosmic Empress, Hushy Plushy and KARA are enforcing all the rules: Stunts must be performed in slow motion (at 3/4 speed), costumes can’t be off-the-rack and nothing R- or X-rated is allowed. “Everything in the contest has to be handmade,” says Justin Cooper, president of the Japan-America Society of Houston. “These costumes are the most elaborate you’ve ever seen.” There are awards for youth, performance, group, craftsmanship and best in show for the outfits based on characters from video games, anime, manga, television, movies and books. From taiko to dance, martial arts to Japanese street fashion, there’s something for every Japanophile at this year’s Japan Festival of Houston, now in its 23rd year, and it's our pick for Saturday afternoon at the park. The event brings together food vendors, authentic Japanese music, and dozens of shows and entertainment, including Chii Sakurabi (a J-Pop singer), Miyuki Matsunaga (a Japanese dancer) and the requisite kids’ corner.

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Hermann Park, 6201 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-963-0121 or visit houstonjapanfest.org. Free.
Jeff Foxworthy’s been friends with Larry the Cable Guy since before there was a Larry the Cable Guy. “We met in 1986 [at] a little club called Comedy Corner,” recalls Foxworthy. “And the house emcee was this guy named Dan Whitney, [who later became] Larry the Cable Guy. We just hit it off, night one.” The working-class jokesters are touring together for “the first time in a long time,” and are dropping by Houston for two very funny shows at Revention Music Center this Saturday night.

Foxworthy, known best for his “You Might Be A Redneck” one-liners, considers himself not just a comic but a “lover of comedy.” Raised not only on stand-up, Foxworthy also loved sketch comedy, like CBS’s Carol Burnett Show. “My favorite part of [Burnett] was when the cast made each other laugh. When you’re a comedian, you keep the straight face while everybody else laughs. But I always thought, people love to see comics laugh.”

Much like how their popular Blue Collar series would end with the comedians riffing together, Foxworthy promises that he and The Cable Guy will top off the night “on stools,” taking questions from the fans. “After 30 years of friendship, you know which buttons to push, and people get to see us laughing,” Foxworthy says. “[You] can tell we’re just buddies having fun.”

5 and 8 p.m. Saturday. 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit reventionmusiccenter.com. $59.50 to $199. 
The day has come to recognize our city’s quirky, creative culture and its movers and shakers. In what’s shaping up to be part art exhibit, part entertainment, the Houston Music and Arts Hall of Fame is recognizing 16 Houstonians who have cultivated the arts — either onstage or behind the scenes. Custom-made portraits will be unveiled for each honoree, but they’re a bit irreverent; artists have placed headpieces on their heads that are supposed to represent their craft. “The headpiece was just a conceptual idea,” says Hannah Bull, the hall’s founder and event curator. “Just to add a little zest to the portraits.” Inductees are Anat Ronen, Andrew Youngblood, Black Cassidy, Brigette Yawn, Chase Hamblin, Dusti Rhodes, FLCON FCKER, Gio Chamba, Jermaine Rogers, John Mills-McCoin, Kam Franklin, Mark C. Austin, Omar Afra, Tifa Tittlywinks, Traci Lavois Thiebaud and Y. E. Torres. The Suffers’ Kam Franklin hosts, and carnival renegade presenter Mills-McCoin serves up a selection of entertainment. Stick around this Sunday afternoon for a digital cumbia fiesta with Gio Chamba and Coffee Guzman and, of course, food and beverages.

1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Karbach Brewing Co., 2032 Karbach. For information, visit facebook.com/HMAAHallofFame. Free. 
Pssst. Have you heard? Hometown fave Jason Moran is pulling out his black book and calling on Houston musicians from the blues, jazz and hip-hop worlds to join him onstage for a musical afternoon, Meet Me at MacGregor, at the very place where he spent many Sundays growing up in Houston. [Due to inclement weather, the event has moved to the Shrine of the Black Madonna, 5313 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.] It’s all part of something much bigger, called the Jason Moran Homecoming Residency, a three-year endeavor that includes educational events and activities in the Third and Fourth wards, presented by Da Camera of Houston and the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. “We are in year two [of the residency],” says Leo Boucher, Da Camera’s director of marketing and audience development. “He’s a Houston native, went to HSPVA and now is an acclaimed jazz pianist and composer; he’s [artistic director for jazz] at the Kennedy Center.” This CounterCurrent16 closing event also is the first project in a five-year partnership between UH and Project Row Houses. Titled Performing the Neighborhood, it brings major performance-based works by contemporary artists to the Third Ward neighborhood — an eclectic mix of longtime residents and the university community. Pack a picnic basket this Sunday afternoon and meet Moran at the park; he’s expecting you.

2 to 6 p.m. Sunday. MacGregor Park, 5225 Calhoun. The Shrine of the Black Madonna, 5313 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. For information, visit countercurrentfestival.org. Free.

Sam Byrd, Josef Molnar and Vic Shuttee contributed to this post.

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