Join super-patrons Ken Bohan and Dean O'Kelley for hors d'oeuvre, live music and a chance to mix and mingle with your favorite 4th Wall Theatre Company actors and directors at Spring Street Studios.
Join super-patrons Ken Bohan and Dean O'Kelley for hors d'oeuvre, live music and a chance to mix and mingle with your favorite 4th Wall Theatre Company actors and directors at Spring Street Studios.
Photo by Gabriella Nissen

5 Best Bets This Weekend in Houston: AfriFEST, Booze and Return of No-Tsu-Oh

Feeling festive? Well so are those zany actors over at 4th Wall Theatre Company. Mix, mingle and witness the drama up close and personal at their cocktail shindig this Friday. But that's not the only "spirited" fun to be had this weekend: the irreverent Montrose Crawl is back, Heritage Society is digging into the vaults to revive the century-old No-Tsu-Oh celebration, we've got African culture galore at HBU, and party band extraordinaire Red Baraat takes the stage at Miller Outdoor Theatre.

Red Baraat brings its wild bhangra sound to Miller Outdoor Theatre, courtesy of Asia Society Texas Center.
Red Baraat brings its wild bhangra sound to Miller Outdoor Theatre, courtesy of Asia Society Texas Center.
Photo by Waleed Shah

Brooklyn-based, international band Red Baraat is bringing its high-energy rhythms to the hill this Friday night. Charismatic front man Sunny Jain leads the sextet with his double-headed Indian dhol drum, lending a frenetic heartbeat to the band's hot bhangra sounds. They're paving their own way in the music world, fusing Indian beats with New Orleans jazz and mixing in some funk, rock, go-go and even a booming sousaphone. Here's hoping they play the title track off their fifth album, Sound The People, with its catchy rap hook. Asia Society Texas Center is producing the concert, described by NPR as "the best party band in years."

7:30 p.m. October 26, Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive, 281-373-3386, asiasociety.org/texas/events/red-baraat or milleroutdoortheatre.com/events/1166, free.

Put on your festive dressy attire and head out to Studio 101 to mix and mingle with your favorite actors and directors from 4th Wall Theatre Company productions.
Put on your festive dressy attire and head out to Studio 101 to mix and mingle with your favorite actors and directors from 4th Wall Theatre Company productions.
Photo by Gabriella Nissen

Have you ever wanted to ask Skyler Sinclair about how her role as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream got her noticed by other directors? Or how it felt for Rachael Logue to channel her inner Matt Damon in Matt and Ben? Mix and mingle with actors and directors from your favorite productions (John Feltch, Jennifer and Kevin Dean, Jeff McMorrough and others) when Up Close Cocktails pulls out all the stops. It's a sophisticated soiree, with hors d'oeuvre, drinks (natch), desserts, music by Mike Towns and sleight-of-hand trickery by magician David Rangel. Check out the work by local artists Syd Moen, Lou Vest, Page Piland and Chris Silkwood (among others) and, if you see something you like, place your bid on art or theater packages during the silent auction. It's all for a good cause, supporting 4th Wall Theatre Company and its mission to pay fair wages to actors and crew.

6:30-8:30 p.m. October 26, Studio 101, Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring, 832-786-1849, 4thwalltheatreco.com/upclose, $50.

The 2018 Houston African Festival returns to Houston Baptist University in this celebration of the music, art and dance of this rich continent.
The 2018 Houston African Festival returns to Houston Baptist University in this celebration of the music, art and dance of this rich continent.
Photo by Candour Photos

From Egypt to South Africa, and from Senegal to Ethiopia, the 2018 Houston African Festival is a celebration of the traditions and cultures of this vibrant, colorful and diverse continent. Come out to sample the foods, celebrate the region's music, dance and art, and stop by community tents to learn about the artifacts, flags and maps from participating countries. Feeling adventurous? Purchase the African Culinary Tour for just $50 and fill up on new and favorite foods, or visit the cool kids' zone for crafts and activities. AfriFEST is presented by the Nigerian-American Multicultural Council and the event is free for children, students and seniors.

Noon-8 p.m. October 27, Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren, 713-568-9450, namchouston.org/afrifest, free to $10.

Houston get its freak on at the Montrose Crawl. It’s Vampire Mardi Gras, it’s Satan’s Fourth of July, it’s Montrose’s very own Halloween party, and you’re invited.
Houston get its freak on at the Montrose Crawl. It’s Vampire Mardi Gras, it’s Satan’s Fourth of July, it’s Montrose’s very own Halloween party, and you’re invited.
Photo by Christi Vest

Don't say we didn't warn you. Things just might go bump in the night, including rainbow unicorns, when the 12th Annual Montrose Crawl hits up ten bars and restaurants between Dunlavy and Montrose this Saturday night. If you think your getup is a contender for the costume contest, then we've got the inside scoop on the pathway to fame and glory. Get your pic taken by a crawl staffer at Brasil, Poison Girl or La Grange at 7 p.m., make sure you're photographed at Pistolero's, Boondocks or Stone's Throw at 9 p.m., then seal the deal with a photo at Catbirds, Present Company, Slick Willie's or El Real Tex-Mex at 11 p.m. We can't guarantee you'll win — there's some mighty stiff competition — but you definitely won't win if you don't follow the rules. And if you don't crawl your way to Slick Willie's by midnight then you might turn into a pumpkin and you definitely won't win the grand prize. So have fun, designate a driver, and know that a portion of drink sales benefits the Houston Area Women's Center.

6 p.m.-midnight October 27, beginning at Brasil (2604 Dunlavy), Poison Girl (1641 Westheimer) and La Grange (2517 Ralph), montrosecrawl.com, free.

From 1899 through 1915, NoTsuOh was Houston’s biggest celebration, rivaling New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. Kings and queens, lavish parades, galas, a carnival midway and backward spelling were the order of the day.
From 1899 through 1915, NoTsuOh was Houston’s biggest celebration, rivaling New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. Kings and queens, lavish parades, galas, a carnival midway and backward spelling were the order of the day.
Photo courtesy of Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Party like it's 1899 when The Heritage Society revives No-Tsu-Oh, a grand celebration from Houston's past that ruled the party circuit between 1899 and 1915. At its peak it was on par with New Orleans' Mardi Gras festivities, with kings, queens, parades, galas and even a carnival midway. The back-to-the-future folks at Heritage Society are reviving this historic event, dipping their toes into the water this first year with a Pet Fest & Parade. Next year expect it to be much, much bigger. So dress up your bestie in a costume, put your pup in a wagon or decorated stroller, and come out to Connally Plaza this Sunday for a chance to win merch and prizes. K-9 Angels Rescue is co-hosting, and the Harris County Mobile Adoption Van will be on site with adoptable dogs. Register in advance to participate in the pet parade.

3-5 p.m. October 28, Connally Plaza, 1100 Bagby between Lamar and Dallas, 713-655-1912, heritagesociety.org/notsuoh-pet-parade, free.

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