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5 Best Bets This Weekend in Houston: Boats, Cusack, and Man With the Plan

The Houston Summer Boat Show runs June 12-16.
The Houston Summer Boat Show runs June 12-16.
Photo by Jeff Myers, Jeff Myers Photography
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Boats, boomboxes, bad movies and the bard: indoors and out there's plenty to see and do in and around Houston this weekend. Learn more about NatGeo's Photo Ark, discover a brand new Shakespeare festival up north, and wrap it all up with John Cusack talking about, well, anything. Keep reading because one of these events is free.

When is a boat show more than boats? Apparently it's this week at NRG Center with outdoor furniture, vacation getaways, clothing, electronics, gear, accessories and — of course — more than 500 types of watercraft at the Houston Summer Boat Show. With about 200 lakes in Texas plus the Gulf of Mexico out our back door, there's no reason not to catch boating fever. The children can burn off some of that energy in the Kids Zone with a bungee jump, inflatables and the Fish-O-Rama; then head over to witness pro angler Chuck Devereaux demonstrate casting techniques at the gigantic 5,000-gallon Bass Tub aquarium.

The Houston Summer Boat Show is scheduled for June 12 through June 16 at 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 1-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at NRG Center, 1 NRG Park. For information, visit houstonboatshows.com. $5 to $12 (children 5 and under are free).

Cone Man Running Productions presents The Man With the Plan: Filmmakers From Outerspace.
Cone Man Running Productions presents The Man With the Plan: Filmmakers From Outerspace.
Photo by Jonathan Moonen and Christine Weems

Was writer/director Edward D. Wood Jr. really just an unappreciated genius with a grandly ambitious vision, or was he the auteur behind one of the worst movies ever made? Local playwright Bryan Maynard mines that riddle with the world premiere of The Man With the Plan: Filmmakers From Outerspace, presented by Cone Man Running Productions and directed by Maynard. Following in Wood's grand footsteps, Maynard has written parts for almost a dozen cast members and promises to reveal the "totally (un)real story" of what really happened behind the scenes while Wood was filming Plan 9 From Outer Space. Hint: Expect flying saucers, saucy psychics and a resurrection of the living dead.

Performances are scheduled for June 15 through June 29 at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and June 17; 3 p.m. Sundays at Studio 101, 1824 Spring Street. For information, visit conemanrunning.com. $15 to $25.

The Montgomery County Shakespeare Festival celebrates The Bard for one special day.
The Montgomery County Shakespeare Festival celebrates The Bard for one special day.
Photo by John Barton

There may be small choice in rotten apples, but the Montgomery County Shakespeare Festival offers plenty of options for fans of The Bard. The daylong festival includes performances of both The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure, where we have to decide whether the tempter or the tempted is the bigger sinner. Rounding out the afternoon are combat demos, vendors, food trucks, arts and crafts and a zone for children that includes storytime. This will be the first year for the inaugural fest, presented by the nonprofit Friends of Shakespeare Houston, with plans to move to a different venue each year.

The Montgomery County Shakespeare Festival is scheduled for June 15 from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, with performances at 3 and 6 p.m. at Rob Fleming Park, 6055 Creekside Forest, The Woodlands. For information, visit facebook.com/events/2055133637933525. Free.

With one million plant and animal species on the verge of extinction, it's time to think about how to at least preserve their legacies for generations to come. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is doing just that with the Photo Ark, a project with the lofty goal of documenting every species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. If you think that's inspiring, check out what Bleeding Fingers Music did in composing an original symphony to go along with those images. National Geographic: Symphony For Our World is a 90-minute show that takes us from the ocean to the coastline, over mountains and up into the sky in a powerful musical tribute that will have you falling in love with Planet Earth all over again. Symphony For Our World is presented in Houston by Society for the Performing Arts.

A performance is scheduled for June 15 at 8 p.m. Saturday at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, visit spahouston.org/performances/national-geographic-symphony-for-our-world. $30 to $80.

Watch Say Anything, starring John Cusack, with John Cusack.
Watch Say Anything, starring John Cusack, with John Cusack.

With every word uttered, Lloyd Dobler's career aspirations became ever more elusive: “I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.” John Cusack's character in 1989's Say Anything may have been limited in his aspirations, but nothing has held back this multi-talented actor, producer, writer and lyricist. Now he's headed to Houston for An Evening with John Cusack, courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts and beginning with a screening of the iconic Cameron Crowe film. Guests will enjoy a moderated discussion with Cusack answering audience questions, and we've got a few: Didn't he get tired holding that boombox above his head for so long? Post Columbine, isn't it strange to see the trenchcoat as a benign garment? How did the film pay tribute to Cusack's earlier film, Tapeheads?

A performance is scheduled for June 16 at 4 p.m. Sunday at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $39.50 to $64.50.

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