Movie Music

5 Best Bets This Weekend in Houston: Houston's B-Day, Murals and a Lost Ark

Was his character critical to the plot? It doesn't matter when John Williams does the score.
Was his character critical to the plot? It doesn't matter when John Williams does the score. Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe; film still courtesy of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

We're casting a wider net this weekend, but it's all for a good reason. There's a chance to hear John Williams' epic score for Raiders of the Lost Ark in The Woodlands and a stop in Galveston to celebrate the 125th anniversary of The Grand 1894 Opera House. Closer to home, don't miss a birthday party for Houston, the launching of a new Arts District, and a revival of a mesmerizing stop-motion film with the genius of Pablo Picasso.

Yeah, we saw that The Big Bang Theory episode where Amy almost ruined Raiders of the Lost Ark for Sheldon, alleging that the Indiana Jones character was irrelevant and that, even without his character, the Nazis still would have found the ark, taken it to the secret island, opened it and died. But there's a whole counter-theory that says if Indiana Jones had been killed at any point in the adventure, Hitler would have died long before the Holocaust. What we can all agree on is an award-winning film by director Steven Spielberg, with writing by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas, and a nomination for Best Music and Best Original Score for John Williams. The Houston Symphony will be performing that epic score this Thursday night at The Pavilion during a screening of the iconic film in Raiders of the Lost Ark in Concert.

A performance of Raiders of the Lost Art in Concert is scheduled for August 29 at 8 p.m. Thursday at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands. For information, call 281-364-3010 or visit or Free to $20.

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Royal Sumikat painted the mural LyricMichelle; she's painting a new mural at Henderson and Kane.
Photo by Nicolett Tsokos
Even if you haven't heard of Arts District Houston yet, you're familiar with the area from when it was known as the Washington Avenue Arts District or, going back even further, as the historic First and Sixth Wards. Along with that shiny new name come a few new initiatives, including a big ribbon-cutting event this Friday and the launching of an ongoing project that calls for five new murals. One of the artists is Royal Sumikat, who got our attention with her brightly colored murals GenesisBlu, LyricMichelle, and FutureFatTony; her new project on the south wall of Henderson and Kane is titled Bringing Home With Us and depicts portraits of Mexican, black, German and Italian women in the late 1800s. At Friday's unveiling event, Marci Dallas, executive director of Fresh Arts and Arts District Houston, will discuss the locations for the rest of the murals that will be unveiled in the months leading up to October's Arts District Month.

The ribbon-cutting and unveiling event is scheduled for August 30 from 9-11 a.m. Friday at Henderson and Kane General Store, 715 Henderson. For information, visit Free.

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Picasso created 20 paintings on camera; they were destroyed upon completion of the film.
Cinematography by Claude Renoir; film still courtesy of Milestone Films
There might not be a better use for stop-motion animation than when filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot documented the late, great Pablo Picasso as he created 20 works of art for his film, The Mystery of Picasso. A transparent canvas was designed so that the camera could capture Picasso's brush strokes, adding and removing elements until he deemed that painting complete. The film — which has been described as hypnotic — received the Prix du Jury at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival; almost 30 years later it was declared a national treasure by the French government. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is presenting this French film with English subtitles as part of its Restorations & Revivals series.

Screenings of The Mystery of Picasso are scheduled for August 30-September 1 at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit $7 to $9.

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Mister McKinney (shown at left) will have his open air bus on hand for tours of downtown Houston.
Photo by Sheryl Tyler
Cake goes very well with beer, thank you, especially if it's a birthday party for the Bayou City. The Heritage Society hosts Happy Birthday Houston! with free museum exhibits, tours of the historic buildings, live music,  beer from Saint Arnold, and noshables from Bollo Woodfired Pizza. Celebrities will be in da house, too, so take a selfie with "Sam Houston," hobnob with the "Allen Brothers" and acknowledge "Charlotte Allen," the official Mother of Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner cuts the cake at 5 p.m., and you'll want to hop on Mister McKinney's open air bus for tours of downtown Houston at 2, 3 and 7 p.m. (first come, first served). Reservations are requested.

Happy Birthday Houston! is scheduled for August 31 from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby. For information, call 713-655-1912 or visit Free.

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Galveston Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Trond Saeverud.
Photo by Robert John Mihovil
The Grand 1894 Opera House celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, no small feat. Not only did it survive the Great Storm of 1900, but it's outlasted many other venues (hello, Fitzgerald's) and is getting ready to open its season with Paul Anka mid-September. In recognition of this milestone year, the Galveston Symphony Orchestra is presenting Celebrating The Grand's 125 Years! with popular music from the 1890s and soprano Megan Stapleton. Oh, and there's another milestone with this one; it's GSO's 40th anniversary season.

A performance of Celebrating The Grand's 125 Years! is scheduled for September 1 at 4 p.m. Sunday at The Grand, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, call 800-821-1894 or visit $25 to $40.
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney