Best Bets This Weekend: Lonestar Rally, Señorita Cinema, y Día de los Muertos

Start your engines.
Start your engines. Photo by Doogie Roux
We're finally at that sweet spot here along the Texas Gulf Coast when being outside actually feels pleasant. Which is a good thing with celebrations of motorcycles and music in Galveston, skating legends at the Jamail Skate Park, and Día de Muertos festivities at Discovery Green, MECA, and the National Museum of Funeral History. But Mother Nature also has a mind of her own, so we've hedged our bets with a few indoor activities: Señorita Cinema, Houston Fringe Festival, and the Jewish Book & Arts Festival.

Lone Star Rally

The baddest bikes in the country converge on historic Galveston Island this weekend when the Lone Star Rally rolls into town. It's the largest motorcycle festival in the United States with a pyrotechnic-filled Halloween concert, the third annual Motion Bike Builders Invitational competition, a huge Chevy display at Pier 21, Saturday night's crowning of Miss Lone Star Rally with a $10,000 cash prize, and costume contests for both rides and riders. Music greats set to take the stage include Creed's Scott Stapp, Tejano sensation Siggno, Montgomery Gentry, American music icon Charlie Daniels and more. Enjoy the rally and let's ride.

The Lone Star Rally is scheduled for October 31-November 3, Thursday through Sunday, between 18th and 25th streets and along Mechanic, Strand, Harborside and Pier 21 in Galveston. For information, visit lonestarrally.com. VIP packages include balcony access ($50 to $129), the Seawall Concert Series Gold Club with dedicated restrooms ($50 to $100), or the all access-all inclusive pass ($199).

Skate, Rock & Give

click to enlarge Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark. - PHOTO BY LANCE CHILDERS
Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark.
Photo by Lance Childers
Johnny Romano made the most of his short life, though in the end leukemia won the battle in the skateboarder's tenth year. Romano was the youngest professional skateboarder in the history of ever, getting introduced to the sport at the age of two when he climbed atop his father's old skateboard, then trying his hand at surfing a year later. This Saturday will feel like Small Town U.S.A. when skateboarders from near and far — plus pro skater Omar Hassan — partner up with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center for Skate, Rock & Give, a blood donation + live music event that honors the late Romano. The goal? Organizers tell us that 100 blood donations will help 300 Texans, while entertainment includes live music by Sick Cow at 3:30 p.m., a reprisal of Brian Johnson's AC/DC tribute, and a shotgun shells and wedding bells session by the DollyRockers.

Skate, Rock & Give is scheduled for November 2 from 2:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday at Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park, 103 Sabine. For information, contact community volunteer Barry Blumenthal at [email protected] or visit facebook.com/events/2363746293855716 or commitforlife.org. Free.

Señorita Cinema

click to enlarge Señorita Cinema promotes Latinas and their filmmaking visions. - ILLUSTRATION BY SOYLA SANTOS
Señorita Cinema promotes Latinas and their filmmaking visions.
Illustration by Soyla Santos

Latina filmmakers are stepping up to the plate and it looks like a home run for this year's Señorita Cinema, the biggest festival yet for founder Stephanie Saint Sanchez. Opening night kicks off with the feature-length documentary, Our Quinceañera, about a small border town in Texas that comes together to make teenage dreams come true. Director Fanny Véliz Grande (John Leguizamo's Road to Broadway) will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A with some of the film's participants. Later that evening, and in partnership with the Houston Fringe Festival (more information below), look for a late night variety program titled Locas! with host La Llorona. Saint Sanchez is known for her funny and poignant shorts and we've got an evening of them Saturday at Aurora Picture Show, while the festival's closer on Sunday is a documentary about the South American Riot Grrl movement over at 14 Pews, with ticket sales helping Girl's Rock Camp Houston.

Señorita Cinema is scheduled for November 1-3 at 7 p.m. Friday at Rice Cinema, Rice Media Center, 2030 University Boulevard; 10:30 p.m. to midnight Friday at MATCH, 3400 Main; 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Aurora Picture Show, 2442 Bartlett; and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at 14 Pews, 800 Aurora. For information, call 281-701-3452 or visit senoritacinema.com. Free to $50.

Houston Fringe Festival

Jim Loucks has a knack for good ol' Southern storytelling, - PHOTO BY RICH PRUGH
Jim Loucks has a knack for good ol' Southern storytelling,
Photo by Rich Prugh

The hits just keep on coming with week two of the Houston Fringe Festival, where anything can — and does — happen. From the seeds of the novel Think and Grow Rich, choreographer Shizu Yasuda has created the contemporary dance piece Master Mind, reminding audience members about the dangers of compromise and the hope of dreams. Rekindle your own source of inspiration and creativity with the Cuban contemporary dance performance, Viajes, performed by the Chamacos Dance Company. Texans are no stranger to the wit and wisdom of Governor Ann Richards, but the rock opera Call Me Ann makes its world premiere this weekend, backed by a live band and featuring familiar movers and shakers: Molly Ivins, George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

Explore life, suffering and the search for meaning during It's About Love with poet, songwriter and lifelong agoraphobic Charles Bryant, inspiration from psychologist-philosopher Viktor Frankl, and poetry from Houstonian Kelly Ann Ellis. The rising stars of the theater world will perform Into the Woods Jr. in PMT YAS!, a preview of what they'll be presenting at the international competition next year. The HFF's signature event, Anything Goes Part I, rounds out the weekend; it's a showcase-style program hosted by the glamorous Miss Understood.

Midweek offerings begin with Jim Loucks' Booger Red, a son-of-a-preacher-man solo performance that demonstrates the power of good ol' fashioned storytelling. And if you're of the belief that we all contain a little bit of stardust within us, then reconnect during Womb of the Universe, a somatic experience where performers move through the world with the intention of giving birth to another way of being, as they weave through the cosmic soup of both time and timelessness.

Master Mind is scheduled for October 31 at 6 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Viajes is scheduled for November 1 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Call Me Ann is scheduled for November 1-2 at 9 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Locas! (see preceding story) is scheduled for November 1 at 11 p.m. Friday.
It's About Love is scheduled for November 2-3 at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
PMT YAS! is scheduled for November 3 at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Anything Goes Part I is scheduled for November 3 at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Booger Red is scheduled for November 5, 7 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 9 p.m. Thursday and 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Womb of the Universe is scheduled for November 6 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday.

The Houston Fringe Festival continues through November 10 at MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit houstonfringefestival.org or matchouston.org/presenter/houston-fringe-festival. $10 to $20.

Día de los Muertos

click to enlarge The National Museum of Funeral History is hosting a free event outdoors. - PHOTO BY LYDIA BAEHR
The National Museum of Funeral History is hosting a free event outdoors.
Photo by Lydia Baehr

How do you define a life well-lived? Is it wealth, fame, progeny or accomplishments? Perhaps a better way to measure a person's impact is whether he or she will be remembered long after their death. This weekend gives Houstonians and those simpatico with Latin culture a chance to honor the dearly departed during Día de los Muertos offerings in and around Houston.

Art cars will be in attendance, as well as cultural performances, during Xfinity Día de los Muertos at Discovery Green. You'll have to see it to believe it when street artist/muralist Angel Quesada unveils a custom, three-tiered community altar, with a spot for you to leave something that reminds you of your departed loved one. Charge up those cell phones, too, because there's an oversized calavera skull by artist GONZO247, and giant mojigangas (papier mâché puppets), courtesy of Thomas Pascal Will Robinson. Enjoy performances by Danzas Folkloricas de Solei and Nueva Luna Ballet Folklorico, and head over to The Grove for a $10 Corzo Tequila Old Fashioned made with lime peel, orange bitters and simple syrup.

Xfinity Día de los Muertos is scheduled for November 1 from 6-10 p.m. Friday at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. For information, visit discoverygreen.com/diadelosmuertos or facebook.com/events/683055138859776. Free.

MECA is celebrating its 19th annual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival with a lively and cheerful celebration that honors the souls of the dead and celebrates Latin American folk art traditions. On Saturday look for a short film showcase presented by the Houston Latino Film Festival, while the festival also will be hosting performances on two stages by MECA Ballet Folklorico, Tres En Punto, Los Guerreros De La Musica / LGM, Solero Flamenco and — making their festival debut — Jilgueros de Altamira. Come hungry, because vendors will be on hand with traditional and favorite food and drinks: tacos al carbon, mole, huaraches, aguas frescas, pupusas, corn in a cup, turkey legs, funnel cakes, pan de muerto, y mas.

MECA's 19th annual Día de los Muertos Festival is scheduled for November 2-3 at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at MECA, 1900 Kane. For information, meca-houston.org. Free.

Learn about the Latin customs surrounding the Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos celebrations during this family-friendly outdoor event over at the National Museum of Funeral History. Activities include sugar skull decorating (while supplies last), face painting, crafts, and an opportunity to leave a message in the Book of the Dead, while food vendors will be offering snacks and snow cones. While this free event doesn't include museum admission, it's worth it to venture inside to explore special permanent exhibits that explore the histories of cremation and embalming, the lives and deaths of Popes, presidential funerals, and full-scale models of a traditional Mexican home and graveyard.

The Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos Celebrations are scheduled for November 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the National Museum of Funeral History, 415 Barren Springs Drive. For information, call 281-876-3063 or visit nmfh.org/u/calendar/day-of-the-dead-/-dia-de-los-muertos-celebration. Free (outdoor event only).

Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery will light the candles on the Día de los Muertos personal altars and ofrendas within the store. Come add a name to the community altar and remember those children who died too soon (November 1) and our beloved ancestors (November 2).

Día de los Muertos candle lighting is scheduled for November 1-2 between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Casa Ramirez FOLKART Gallery, 241 West 19th. For information, call 713-880-2420 or visit casaramirez.com. Free.

Several other Día de los Muertos events have made it onto our radar; discover something in your own neighborhood at houstonpress.com.

Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival

click to enlarge Isaac Mizrahi. - PHOTO BY GREGG RICHARDS
Isaac Mizrahi.
Photo by Gregg Richards
Readers who like to jam and music aficionados who enjoy cerebral entertainment all join together during the annual Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival. Don't miss the opening night event with the uber talented Isaac Mizrahi, whose book I.M.: A Memoir delves into his battles with weight, insomnia and depression, as well as the joys found through developing television, theater and literature projects.

The programming for the Jewish Book & Arts Festival runs deep, with more than 40 offerings that also include films, concerts, interactive performances and family programs. Choose one or choose all and rest assured you'll come out the other side just a little bit wiser after this popular community event.

Opening weekend offerings include:
Opening Night with Isaaz Mizrahi is scheduled for November 2 at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Author and lost film buff Josh Frank, who discovered a lost script and brought it to life in the colorful graphic novel Giraffes on Horseback Salad: Salvador Dali, the Marx Brothers and the Strangest Movie Never Made is scheduled for November 3 from 12:30-2 p.m. Sunday.
A screening of the 1932 film Horse Feathers, directed by Norman McLeod, is scheduled for November 3 from 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Author David Dow is the keynote speaker for Local Literati, an event where local authors will discuss their recent literary endeavors, scheduled for November 3 from 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Discover why Israel has the highest concentration of startups per capita worldwide when former officer in the Israeli Defense Forces Elite Intelligence Unit Inbal Arieli, author of Chutzpah: Why Israel is a Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, discusses this hot spot for generations of entrepreneurs. Inbal Arieli and Tom Segev are scheduled for November 3 from 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival is scheduled for November 2-13 at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-729-3200 or visit erjcchouston.org/arts/jewish-book-arts-festival. Free to $117.
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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