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The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Meet Houston's Biggest Baby

A quick grooming by mom before the crowds arrive.EXPAND
A quick grooming by mom before the crowds arrive.
Photo by Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo
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The average weight of a newborn baby is about seven and a half pounds. Actually, let's clarify, the average weight of a newborn human baby is seven and a half pounds, while the average weight of a baby giraffe is closer to that of a fully grown man. That was just the case last Monday when baby Zindzhi was born. She was born at 9:04 a.m. and was quickly readied to meet the crowds right after. With mom's eyes on her precious newborn, you're all invited this weekend to meet the Houston Zoo's biggest baby of the year so far.

Miller Outdoor Theatre sets the tone for the open and airy moves of this weekend's collective performers.EXPAND
Miller Outdoor Theatre sets the tone for the open and airy moves of this weekend's collective performers.
Photo courtesy of Miller Outdoor Theatre

After the Foundation for Modern Music brought in Jade Simmons to perform at its annual anti-bullying festival, executive director Paul Boyd knew that he wanted to work with the talented pianist again. “We always want to collaborate with somebody new,” says Boyd. “I can’t think of the last time we didn’t do that.” Simmons will perform a tribute to jazz pianist Lillette Harris with the new single “The Flight,” which is based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” while Urban Souls dances to Harrison Guy’s choreography during Music That Should Be Danced. The collaborative music and dance event will include participation by Greenbriar Consortium, Houston Symphony musicians, Meyerland Middle School’s Dance Department, Multicultural Education Counseling through the Arts and FMM’s Avalon Ensemble, which all perform this Friday. “We have African, Asian, classical, Hawaiian, hip-hop, Mexican and jazz idioms inspiring new choreography,” says Boyd.

8 p.m. Friday. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 281-823-9103 or see modernmusic.org. Free.

Sure, you'll start the party sitting on your blanket, but you'll end it dancing on your feet.EXPAND
Sure, you'll start the party sitting on your blanket, but you'll end it dancing on your feet.
Photo by Katya Horner

What were you doing at age 12? Cutting your second record overall and first for the heavy-hitting jazz label Impulse! Records? Don’t feel down — not everyone can be Denardo Coleman, son of the late Fort Worth native and “free jazz” inventor Ornette Coleman. The drummer, now a full-grown adult, will be joined by Houston natives Chris Walker (bass) and Jason Moran (piano), who’s also the artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center, for the latest installment of Da Camera JAM, a partnership with Discovery Green that presents jazz-centric groups throughout April in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month. “We’re super excited,” says Lauren Mitchell, Discovery Green marketing manager. “They’re a pretty great act, and that’s one of the cool things about this partnership.” The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Jazz Ensemble opens. Head to Discovery Green this Friday to catch the collaborative performance of these fellow native Texans take on jazz.

6:30 p.m. Friday. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-524-5050 or see dacamera.com. Free.

View this larger than life performance this Saturday.EXPAND
View this larger than life performance this Saturday.
Photo by Eva Ripoll

Houston Grand Opera has finally arrived at Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), the finale of composer Richard Wagner’s four-part epic about the gods and their ultimate downfall. Siegfried (Simon O’Neill) and Brünnhilde (Christine Goerke) have spent the night together, and he gives her the ring he stole so long ago from the greedy Alberich. Returning as Alberich, bass-baritone Christopher Purves has a smaller part than in Das Rheingold, but in a pivotal scene with his son, Hagen, he urges him to get the ring back and protect his father’s legacy. In obliging, Hagen initiates proceedings that ultimately result in death and the end of Valhalla. “I think people will come to see it because we still have a fascination with things that are larger than life,” Purves says. “It’s stories of the gods, mythology that still excites us. We want something bigger than our lives.” Speaking of bigger, running time is an estimated five and a half hours with two intermissions, so evening performances begin at 6 p.m., much earlier than usual. Sung in German with projected English translations, but feel free to brush up on your German before this Saturday so as not to miss a line.

6 p.m. Saturdays, Tuesday, Thursday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Through May 7. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org. $20 to $385.75.

Although hippie communes began in the '60s, they've never truly gone away.
Although hippie communes began in the '60s, they've never truly gone away.
Photo courtesy of Suzanne Bocanegra

Lili Taylor (Mystic Pizza, Six Feet Under, The Conjuring) is stepping up to the plate to perform Suzanne Bocanegra's newest lecture as Bocanegra, with the help of text, song, costume, film and projections. Apparently Bocanegra's grandparents had a small farm across from the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, and those early years observing both the farm and the brothel have resulted in a story about the homesteading movement, hippie communes in the 1960s and the characterizations of prostitutes in art and theater. Audience members will be seated during these performances. Arrive this Saturday night with an open mind to meeting Texas's history in the business of brothels.

7 p.m. Saturday. The MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, visit countercurrentfestival.org. Free.

Zindzhi's off to a running start and we can't wait to watch her grow.EXPAND
Zindzhi's off to a running start and we can't wait to watch her grow.
Photo by Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

On the morning of April 10, Tyra, one of the Masai giraffes at the Houston Zoo, gave birth to a female calf. Tyra's newborn calf weighed in at 139 pounds and measured 6'3" tall. Pretty big newborn if you ask us; however, she has quickly gotten the hang of her land legs and is ready to meet the rest of Houston this Sunday. In lieu of party balloons and stuffed bears, consider buying lettuce treats for the proud parents, onsite.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Daily. Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park. For information, call 713-533-6500 or visit houstonzoo.org. Free to $18.

Margaret Downing, Steve Jansen, Tex Kerschen and Susie Tommaney contributed to this post.

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