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Grab yourself a beer passport and this could be you at Brew at the Zoo.
Grab yourself a beer passport and this could be you at Brew at the Zoo.
Photo by Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

10 Best Bets This Weekend in Houston: Cotton Fest, Cosplay and Canine Fun

What's up is down during this wacky weekend in Houston with free cotton candy and wrestling at Market Square Park, a woman singing the role of Mozart in HGO's newest opera, and live music rattling the hallowed halls at MFAH. It's also a celebration of animals, from Attwater’s prairie chicken to The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the adoptable pets at Houston Humane Society. Keep reading because we've also got dance showcases, an old timey Cotton Gin Festival and cosplay at Traders Village.

"Drink beer and save animals" just might go down as the best elevator pitch in the history of ever. It's the second annual Brew at the Zoo where guests receive a beer passport and a souvenir mug, plus fun with a photo booth, lawn games and special animal encounters and experiences. Leave the kids at home, designate a driver (they get in for a discount) and feel good knowing that your attendance helps save local species in the wild like the Houston toad and Attwater’s prairie chicken.

Brew at the Zoo is scheduled for April 25 from 7-10 p.m. Thursday at the Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-533-6500 or visit houstonzoo.org/brew. $25 to $60.

Students of Houston Ballet Academy performing Garland Waltz from Ben Stevenson’s The Sleeping Beauty.
Students of Houston Ballet Academy performing Garland Waltz from Ben Stevenson’s The Sleeping Beauty.
Photo by Lawrence Knox

It's all smiles when hundreds of dancers take to the Houston Ballet stage during the annual Academy Spring Showcase. For the up-and-coming dancers at the Houston Ballet Academy, it's a chance to show the world what they've accomplished and, for us in the audience, it's a fast-paced and enjoyable program of classical and contemporary ballet.

Performances are scheduled for April 26 through April 27 at 7 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org/seasontickets/2018-19-season/academy-spring-showcase. $45 to $55.

Rihab Chaieb makes her HGO debut singing the roles of Maria Malibran, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Nancy Da Ponte (née Grahl).
Rihab Chaieb makes her HGO debut singing the roles of Maria Malibran, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Nancy Da Ponte (née Grahl).
Photo by Fay Fox, courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

Our predictions are that Lorenzo da Ponte will soon become a household name. Long overshadowed by his partnership with the more famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, da Ponte failed as a Roman Catholic priest (there was that whole secret family thing) but was quite successful as a librettist. We'll learn more about this colorful character in the world premiere of The Phoenix or The Operatic Adventures of Lorenzo Da Ponte on Two Continents in Two Acts, presented and commissioned by Houston Grand Opera. Making her HGO debut is Rihab Chaieb who sailed through auditions by being able to sing low, sing high and do coloratura, as well as embodying three different roles and two genders. In between complicated costume changes, Chaieb will sing the role of singer and diva Maria Malibran, Nancy the librettist's wife, and Mozart himself (though quite differently from the version presented by Tom Hulce in the film Amadeus).

Performances are scheduled for April 26 and 28 and May 4, 7 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. (most performances) and 2 p.m. April 28 at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org/thephoenix. $25 to $245.

Dance the night away with music by Kraak & Smaak, DJ Sun and En Funque at MFAH Mixed Media.
Dance the night away with music by Kraak & Smaak, DJ Sun and En Funque at MFAH Mixed Media.
Photo by Trish Badger

When the clock strikes midnight Cinderella's carriage becomes a pumpkin again and MFAH Mixed Media returns to the quiet, hallowed halls of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. But for four glorious hours they'll turn up the volume against a backdrop of amazing art with music by Kraak & Smaak, DJ Sun and El Funque. Nibble on Dutch stroopwafels by Austin's Stroop Club and take a zillion selfies in the amazingly cool Van Gogh Up Close immersive exhibit. Trust us, your social media feed will be rewarded as you sit in Van Gogh's bedroom at Arles, dine al fresco at the Cafe de Nuit, or transform yourself into The Postman Joseph Roulin.

MFAH Mixed Media is scheduled for April 26 from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit mfah.org/a/mixed-media. $22 to $25.

Dance of Asian America promotes and preserves the rich cultural heritage of China through authentic Chinese dance.
Dance of Asian America promotes and preserves the rich cultural heritage of China through authentic Chinese dance.
Photo by Andy Hou

In the ultimate of mash-ups, enjoy an evening of new choreography from some of our favorite dance-makers in town. 17th Annual East Meets West is presented by Dance of Asian America in collaboration with Revolve Dance Company, Houston Ballroom Company, Ad Deum Dance Company, Uptown Dance Company, FLY Dance Company, and Dance of Asian America's Dance Academy.

A performance is scheduled for April 27 at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 832-630-5048 or visit milleroutdoortheatre.com/performance/east-meets-west-xvii. Free.

Riddle me this, Batman.
Riddle me this, Batman.
Photo by Gilbert Bernal

Why be yourself when you can dress as your favorite superhero, comic book character, or movie villain? The 4th Annual Traders Village Houston Comicon 2019 will have plenty of cosplay and photo opps, plus a chance to meet artists, get autographs, hear music, and shop from some of your favorite merchants and vendors.

Traders Village Comicon is scheduled for April 27 through April 28 at 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Traders Village, 7979 North Eldridge. For information, call 281-890-5500 or visit tradersvillage.com/houston/events/traders-village-houston-comicon-2019. $4 for parking

Cotton Gin Festival features live music from Robert Zientek, Allison & The Texas Two by Fours, and The Dujka Brothers.
Cotton Gin Festival features live music from Robert Zientek, Allison & The Texas Two by Fours, and The Dujka Brothers.
Photo by Rachel Alfonso-Smith/Shutterbunny Photography

Come see the oldest operating cotton gin in America and marvel at how technology from more than a century ago helped regional farmers do their work faster and more efficiently. They're keeping the history of cotton alive and celebrating a milestone anniversary during the 30th Annual Cotton Gin Festival, with all sorts of old timey fun including tractor pulls for kids and adults, contests for bubble gum blowing and pie eating, a ginning demonstration and a parade, plus live music and polka on the big stage.

The festival is scheduled for April 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Texas Cotton Gin Museum, 307 North Main Street, Burton. For information, call 979-289-3378 or visit texascottonginmuseum.org. Free.

Lions and tigers and bears won't be there, but other cute animals will.
Lions and tigers and bears won't be there, but other cute animals will.
Photo by John Everett

Animal Planet's Dave Salmoni knows all about animals: how to train them, how to film them through his production company Triosphere, and what makes large predators tick. But his most important mission is to share the knowledge about how important animals are to our planet's ecosystem. Salmoni is the headline act during the 12th Annual Nature Fest, presented by The Howard Hughes Corporation® at Bridgeland®, its master-planned community in Cypress. Also scheduled to appear on the big stage are Birds of Prey, Crocodile Encounter, and Wild Things Zoofari, while the little ones will enjoy storytime with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Nature Fest is scheduled for April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Oak Meadow Park, 17730 House Hahl, Cypress. For information, call 281-304-5588 or visit bridgeland.com/naturefest.html. Free admission; some activities will require a small fee.

Join Doomsday Wrestling for an evening of headlocks and hi-jinks with the wackiest wrestlers that you've ever seen.
Join Doomsday Wrestling for an evening of headlocks and hi-jinks with the wackiest wrestlers that you've ever seen.
Photo by Francisco Montes

The stars must be in alignment this Saturday night because not only is there free admission to Doomsday Wrestling LIVE at Market Square Park, but Poodlefloss is handing out free cotton candy before the main event. Bring your picnic blanket or folding chair, enjoy lawn games and tunes from DJ Nibu, then get ready for all your favorite headlocks and hi-jinks at this over-the-top comedy wrestling show.

Doomsday Wrestling is scheduled for April 27 from 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Historic Market Square Park, 301 Milam. For information, visit facebook.com/events/356351351755728. Free.

Who will win the doggy costume contest at the post race party this Sunday?
Who will win the doggy costume contest at the post race party this Sunday?
Photo by Eric Sauseda

Get out the leashes and wag those tails because it's time again for Houston's oldest dog run and walk. The 38th Annual K-9 Fun Run & Walk happens rain or shine, though we've got our paws crossed for the latter. Anybody can participate, though you'll need a rabies certificate if you're not a biped, then be sure to stay after for the party in the park that features a doggy costume contest and an alumni parade. A lot of folks participating as a solo entry or as part of a team will be fundraising for the Houston Humane Society and its life saving programs (like the $30 spay/neuter) and, if you really and truly can't see yourself getting up early this Sunday, then sign up for the virtual run/walk for just $40.

The 38th Annual K-9 Fun Run & Walk is scheduled for April 28 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday at T.C. Jester Park, 4201 T.C. Jester Boulevard. For information, visit events.houstonhumane.org. $25 to $45.

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