After umpteen straight days of rain, we could sure use a break, and it looks like the sun is finally peeking out from behind those clouds. Which is awesome for the hard-partying Jeep enthusiasts heading to Crystal Beach for Go Topless, the 1920s costume contest at Discovery Green, and BikeHouston's free block party this Saturday. Moving indoors, look forward to a psychologically thrilling opera, a convo with Jad Abumrad from NPR's Radiolab, and Ars Lyrica's season finale.
Goth opera meets tortured soul in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, where a young bride can't resist looking behind seven forbidden locked doors. We're not sure why she didn't flee after opening the first door — leading to her new husband's bloody torture chamber — but like all good psychological thrillers things don't go well for the inquisitive. It's the classical season finale for Houston Symphony and this concert experience features a semi-staged performance by opera luminaries Michelle DeYoung and Matthias Goerne. The hourlong one act opera premiered in Budapest a century ago and, though set in Medieval times, its themes of magic, mystery and relationships still beckon.
Performances are scheduled for May 16 through May 17 at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $29 to $99.
What's better than a gathering of Jeeps? A giant family and friends weekend with hard partying Jeep enthusiasts converging on Bolivar Peninsula and Crystal Beach. The flags will be flying high as car clubs and lovers of the brand show off their version of the ultimate in tricked-out rides. Booked solid RV parks and vacation rentals get a boost, as do local eateries, so it's a win-win-win all around for this national event. Hang loose, designate a driver and don't forget the sunscreen.
Modern day pickup artists weren't the first male predators intent on adding notches to their belt. In 1924's silent film Girl Shy, main character Harold Meadows doesn't dare approach women, yet still has the chutzpah to write a how-to book on how to get the girl. Two Star Symphony composed its own original soundtrack for the film and it's screening at Discovery Green in Silent Film/Live Music, with two nights of 1920s costume contests, dance lessons and a chance to win free gift cards to The Grove.
Silent Film/Live Music is scheduled for May 17 through May 18 at 8 p.m. (dance lessons and costume contest) and 9-11 p.m. (film screening) Friday and Saturday, Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, visit discoverygreen.com or facebook.com/events/2325618097708394. Free.
Get bike happy with BikeHouston's free festival this Saturday. Not only is it the biggest block party on two wheels, you'll get to test new rides, try your hand on BMX bike ramps and chart your course for one of the bike tours that spokes out from the fest. And did we mention craft beer from Holler Brewing Co., bites from local food trucks and a Bike Rodeo for the kiddos? It's all part of the Houston Bike Summit, a two day event that kicks off with a Friday luncheon and happy hour and is part of BikeHouston's ongoing initiative to transform H-Town into a Gold Level Cycling City. We're currently stuck at bronze, and our ten year goal calls for improved safety, increased access and ridership, and the development and maintenance of a high-quality bicycle network.
The BikeHouston Summit is scheduled for May 17 through May 18 at 11:30 a.m. Friday (luncheon at Sawyer Yards), 5-8 p.m. Friday (happy hour at Holler Brewing), 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (bike festival at Holler Brewing), with group tours at noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.; Sawyer Yards, 2101 Winter, and Holler Brewing Co., 2206 Edwards. For information, visit bikehouston.org/houstonbikesummit. Free to $15 (happy hour and bike festival); $100 to $1,000 (luncheon).
Broadcast journalist Jad Abumrad uses every trick in his toolbox to make sure NPR's Radiolab hovers around the No. 2 slot for most downloaded podcasts (and we can't fault This American Life for holding steady at the top). Abumrad creatively weaves together dialogue, interviews, music and sound effects to bring his deep-dive investigations to life, from topics that range from the nature of numbers to the evolution of altruism or even whether there's a legal basis for the war on terror. He'll dish on how narrative storytelling furthers the craft of journalism in this one night only event presented in Houston by Society for the Performing Arts.
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Jad Abumrad is scheduled for May 18 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas Avenue. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org. $25 to $65.
Like all of us, Johann Sebastian Bach had his good days and his bad days. But he was really kicking along in high gear while working as a music director in the small town of Cöthen; it was one of his happiest and most productive periods and it's where he composed the six "Brandenburg" Concertos. Each one calls for a different combination of instruments and soloists and for No. 2 and No. 4, being presented as part of Ars Lyrica's season finale, we'll enjoy both the high flourishes of the trumpet and a soaring violin solo. The program for From Brandenburg to Esterházy also includes a concerto by Joseph Haydn and a little gem for two recorders and strings by Johann Christoph Pez. Soloists and featured artists include Baroque violinist Ingrid Matthews and harpsichordist/artistic director Matthew Dirst, as well as Paul Leenhouts (recorder), Kathryn Montoya (Baroque oboe) and Nathaniel Mayfield (natural trumpet).
From Brandenburg to Esterházy is scheduled for May 19 at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit arslyricahouston.org. $23 to $75.