Space City Con's winter gathering, which starts on Friday, has something to satisfy every sci-fi, fantasy, comic book and cosplay desire. Actors from the hit HBO series Game of Thrones are attending: Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo), Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell), Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) are on the list. Star Trek is also well represented this year across all brands, so bring your autograph book.
On the artist front, make sure you drop by to visit with one of Houston's rising comic stars, Jamie Kinosian. Maybe she'll share a glimpse of her upcoming series, Face the Music, with fellow local talent Meredith Nudo. At the very least, you can pick up some amazing Zelda art from her. There'll be screenings of Carlos Tovar's upcoming Web series, More Than Human, starring Joe Grisaffi (In a Madman's World) and a steampunk take on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Trey Stokes, the only man ever to create a Star Wars fan film that actually launched a character into the official expanded universe of the franchise, will show off his legendary Pink Five Saga.
Noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa, & Convention Center, 7 Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, visit spacecitycon.com. $15 to $45.
Dennis Anderson's Grave Digger® and Nicole Johnson's Scooby-Doo™ go head to head...well, actually, front grill to front grill, at Saturday's choreographed destruction bash Monster Jam. Lots of other drivers will have their trucks on the track, too. George Balhan will be behind the wheel of Mohawk Warrior®, Alex Blackwell will have Captain's Curse® and Rod Schmidt will be driving Monster Mutt Rott-weiler. Team Hot Wheels®, Son-uva Digger® and Firestorm® will also be on the track. The 12-feet-tall, 10,000-pound monster trucks roar around the dirt racetrack jumping over obstacles (and sometimes not quite clearing them), crashing through barriers and crushing anything in their way.
7 p.m. Reliant Stadium, 1 Reliant Park. For information, call 800‑745‑3000 or visit monsterjam.com. $10 to $100.
One of our choices for Saturday is comedian Loni Love who has a weekend stand-up stint at the Houston Improv. Love likes to tap -- and we don't mean dance. A frequent guest on Ellen DeGeneres's talk show, Love isn't shy about discussing her sex life. Love says her requirements for a romantic partner are minimal. It seems one drink will do it. "Echinacea goldenseal and brown liquor are my Obamacare, all right?" Love told DeGeneres last fall. In obvious defiance of her liver, Love then downed five hefty shots of the stuff -- boom-boom-boom-boom-boom -- without missing a beat. Even if those shots were cider or weak-tea stage props, the ferocity and determination with which Love downed them was still impressive.
DeGeneres asked Love about older men."I'd tap that," Love responded. Younger men? "I'd tap that, too." The impish members of One Direction? "Ooh, they're a little young -- I don't know about that. I'd have to add all their ages up together, so then I can tap that."
8 p.m. Thursday, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. 7620 Katy Freeway. For -information, call 713‑333‑8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $17 to $30.
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Another choice for Saturday is Christopher Buehlman's new play about Christopher Marlowe, A Sodomite's Christmas in Elizabethan London. The play is meant to shock - just look at the title. Marlowe was a contemporary of William Shakespeare and a playwright to whom fame came early, as did death - he died at the age of 29 in a brawl with drinking companions, though some allege the death was faked. It seems clear that Marlowe -- believed to have been a spy for the Queen -- was a carouser who lived life to the fullest.
Playwright Buehlman, who had previously performed as Marlowe in a one-man work, says, "I've been fascinated by Christopher Marlowe since I first stumbled across The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus when I was 23. The events [in the Sodomite's Christmas] take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1592, the last Christmas Marlowe ever saw. Other characters include Sir Walter Raleigh, a fantastical Queen Elizabeth and a Devil that might be Sir Walter Raleigh in red paint."
Scott McWhirter, who plays Marlowe in the show, says, "In these plays Marlowe is painted as a foulmouthed, dirty-minded, perpetually drunken genius. I have to say the combination proves almost too much fun for an actor. It's an absolute blast to have the opportunity to play Kit once again."
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3 p.m. Saturday. Obsidian Art Space, 3522 White Oak Drive. For information, call 318-423-0281 or visit trebuchetplayers.org. $5.
The Houston Symphony kicks off the new year with a performance of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, including a Sunday afternoon performance. Opening the program is Haydn's Symphony No. 59, known as the Fire Symphony. There's also Schnittke's Moz-Art à la Haydn for two violins and chamber ensemble, but the highlight of the program is sure to be Mozart's Symphony No. 41, Jupiter. Houston Symphony music director-designate Andrés Orozco-Estrada will be at the podium for the program and orchestra member Eric Halen will be featured on violin.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $124.
Jef with One F, Jim J. Tommaney and Nancy Ford contributed to this post.