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The Briscoe family takes its annual Kentucky Derby family portrait very seriously, with a Cinco de Derby twist. Find your own style this Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.
The Briscoe family takes its annual Kentucky Derby family portrait very seriously, with a Cinco de Derby twist. Find your own style this Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.

10 Best Bets This Weekend in Houston: Star Wars, Kentucky Derby and J.J. Watt

We can bet on the trifecta this weekend with multiple reasons to celebrate: Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, and Star Wars Day. Feel-good events are in the mix too with the JJ Watt Foundation Charity Classic and the BARC pet walk at Rice. Dance, comedy, a divot stomp at the polo club, and an exploration of Mars round out the slate of offerings, guaranteeing there's something for everybody this weekend. May the 4th be with you.

Celebrate the Star Wars franchise with great art this weekend, courtesy of War'Hous.
Celebrate the Star Wars franchise with great art this weekend, courtesy of War'Hous.
Photo by J. Tovar

Curator Dandee Warhol has really tapped into our need for quality art inspired by the Star Wars franchise, and the good news is that it's time for the 8th Annual May the 4th Art Festival presented by War'Hous. Expect tons of cosplay (both pro and amateur), an artisan market, live DJ sets and original artwork from Meighgan Gladden, Monica Melgar, Brett Bunny and other talented visionaries. Collectors will want to hit up the VIP Preview Party on Friday night for first chance at the art.

The May the 4th Art Festival is scheduled for May 3 through May 5 at 6-10 p.m. Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 215 Grove. For information, visit facebook.com/events/537942610047446. Free to $10.

Adventure begins where the program year ends, and movement becomes art with Uptown Dance Company's season finale. Uptown Dance Recital 2019 – Aloha! features performances by company dancers and Uptown Dance Centre students, under the artistic leadership of Beth Gulledge-Brown, Adrian Ciobanu and Alexander Pandiscio.

Performances are scheduled for May 3 through May 4 at 7 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-686-0334 or visit uptowndance.org. $11.50 to $31.05.

That's Not How the Fourth Works — A Galactic Comedy Tribute features Long Distance Dedication, Jedi Jam, Trek Wars, and Death Star Close Quarters.
That's Not How the Fourth Works — A Galactic Comedy Tribute features Long Distance Dedication, Jedi Jam, Trek Wars, and Death Star Close Quarters.
Photo by Hugo Pedraza

Class is in session and it's time for a schooling with That's Not How the Fourth Works — A Galactic Comedy Tribute, cohosted by Trek Wars and Station Theater. Before the night is over you'll witness an improvised musical tribute to lost love in a galaxy far, far away; a Jedi Jam; and a skit where sci-fi tropes help voyagers survive encounters with aliens, robots and a sentient planet-eating starship. The evening closes when four seemingly unrelated events aboard a death star unfold in real time, and the audience members need to determine how those stories are connected.

A performance is scheduled for May 4 from 8-9:15 p.m. Saturday at Station Theater, 1230 Houston Avenue. For information, call 832-786-0413 or visit facebook.com/events/571477173344173. $8 to $10.

The JJ Watt Foundation Charity Classic and home-run derby helps middle schools that have insufficient or no funding for after-school athletic programs.
The JJ Watt Foundation Charity Classic and home-run derby helps middle schools that have insufficient or no funding for after-school athletic programs.
Photo by Eric Sauseda

Wait, what? J.J. Watt on the diamond? It all makes perfect sense when it comes to the JJ Watt Foundation Charity Classic and home-run derby. Watt and fellow Houston Texans teammates are switching games in this softball benefit that helps the Justin J. Watt Foundation provide funding for middle schools around the country. Cool things to do and see include a silent auction and a chance to bid on meet-and-greet events and autographed merch; the ability to purchase "Dream Big Work Hard" t-shirts, hoodies and pennants; and post-game fireworks. Gates open at 4 p.m., home run derby is at 6 p.m. and the softball game is at 7 p.m.

The charity classic is scheduled for May 4 at 6 p.m. Saturday at Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. For information, call 713-259-8000 or visit tickets.com. $5 to $200.

The Houston BARC Foundation is working on completion of a new adoption center, a vital step in helping BARC find homes for the thousands of homeless animals in BARC’s care.
The Houston BARC Foundation is working on completion of a new adoption center, a vital step in helping BARC find homes for the thousands of homeless animals in BARC’s care.
Photo by Jie Willey

The City of Houston held up its end of the bargain with BARC; it's the only Houston shelter that is required to accept every single animal that comes through its door regardless of shelter capacity, behavior, breed or medical condition. So do BARC a solid and join in the 4th annual BARK for BARC Pet Walk this Saturday, and know that your support helps make improvements to pet play yards, sponsors spay and neuter initiatives, and helps to fund supplies, equipment and services. Last year BARC shut down the baby-making factory for more than 7,200 animals, an important step toward reducing the homeless animal population in our area. After strutting your stuff, stay after for dog agility demonstrations, food trucks and more Fido-friendly fun.

The pet walk is scheduled for May 4 at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Rice University, in the parking lot off Greenbriar between University and Rice Boulevards. For information, visit HoustonBARCFoundation.org. $30 to $10,000.

Get out your glue guns, hit up Michaels for some plastic flowers, and make Lovey Wentworth Howell proud with your entry in the annual derby hat contest for Sam Houston Race Park's Kentucky Derby Day. Winner nets a $500 top prize, courtesy of presenter Avalon Event Rentals, and it all adds to the festive air when the entire Kentucky Derby card from Churchill Downs is broadcasted to the race park. But the action doesn't stop there, live quarter horse racing also is back. Gates open at 9 a.m.

Kentucky Derby Day is scheduled for May 4 at 1 p.m. (live racing) and 5:40 p.m. (145th running of the Kentucky Dermy) on Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West. For information, call 281-807-8700 or visit shrp.com/events/detail/live-quarter-horse-racing-47. $5 to $8.

We have to grade NASA engineer Kobie Boykins with "exceeded all expectations" for his solar array designs on the Mars Exploration Rovers. Expected to last just three months, one of those rovers is still sending back images nine years later. Come learn about the mysteries of space and the Red Planet in this special National Geographic program, Exploring Mars — Kobie Boykins, NASA Engineer, presented in Houston by Society for the Performing Arts. Insider tip: Show up early for an adventure-themed photo booth in the lobby and more pre-show fun.

A performance is scheduled for May 4 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit spahouston.org/performances/nasa-engineer-kobie-boykins. $25 to $65.

This will be the first time that the Kinder HSVPA Mariachis are performing at Discovery Green.
This will be the first time that the Kinder HSVPA Mariachis are performing at Discovery Green.
Photo by Daniel Ortiz

We've done the homework so you don't have to. Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated all over town with a Loteria-inspired art show and live music by Bossa II at Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, a new "Puebla" performance by Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, Grammy-worthy acts at Miller Outdoor Theatre with Flor de Toloache and Lupillo Rivera, and a South of the Border comedy show at The Secret Group. Discovery Green is celebrating with a Selena tribute by Amanda Solis, dancing by J-Dance Company and Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston, singing by Kirsten G, a play by Nueva Luna Ballet Folklorico, and headlining act the Kinder HSPVA Mariachis. View our companion stories below for the who, what, when and where; the "why" is obvious.

Wondering what to wear to the Houston Polo Club? For men collar shirts are required; pair with nice shorts or casual pants. For the ladies, sundresses, skirts or capri pants are in fashion; heels are not.
Wondering what to wear to the Houston Polo Club? For men collar shirts are required; pair with nice shorts or casual pants. For the ladies, sundresses, skirts or capri pants are in fashion; heels are not.
Photo by Kaylee Wroe Photography

We weren't all born with a silver spoon in our mouth, but for one glorious evening we can hobnob with the country club set while enjoying an afternoon of polo. This Sunday brings the Porsche Classic presented by Porsche of West Houston, with champagne and a divot stomp during halftime, live music, and a meet the players trophy presentation. Ladies should swap out those heels for flats and don a spring hat, while gentlemen will want to wear a collar shirt with nice shorts or casual pants. Upscale concessions are handled by Ruth's Chris Steak House and include champagne, polo peach tea, and buckets of beer.

The Porsche Classic presented by Porsche of West Houston is scheduled for May 5 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Houston Polo Club, 8552 Memorial. For information, call 713-681-8571, extension 101 or visit houstonpoloclub.com. $15 to $695.

A small-town boy discovers that no potion could impress his sweetheart more than a hearty dose of self-confidence.
A small-town boy discovers that no potion could impress his sweetheart more than a hearty dose of self-confidence.
Photo by Lynn Lane

And here's our midweek bonus: Our theater and opera critics are hard to please; they're ever on the hunt for the best of the best when it comes to performance art. So we were delighted when they reported back that Houston Grand Opera's The Elixir of Love was "a bel canto treat," a sparkling production with heavenly music and even a hot air balloon. Now, thanks to the magic of HGO's Opera to Go! program, new audiences will have a chance to experience a bite-sized adaptation of this high-energy comedic opera and learn the value of having a healthy dose of self-confidence. The 45-minute program will be sung in English and is recommended for grades 2-8, though everybody is welcome to attend. Music is by Gaetano Donizetti and the libretto is by Kristine McIntyre.

Performances are scheduled for May 6 through May 8 at 11 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit houstongrandopera.org/freeperformances. Free.

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