Our first pick for Friday is The Landing Theatre Company's Exit 27 making its world premiere here. It's a gripping and timely story by playwright Aleks Merilo. The stakes are high here, since the Fundamental Church of Latter-Day Saints expels young men accused of transgressions into the achingly dry desert of Utah, to stay alive as best they can, with few survival skills and fewer resources. Since 2000, almost 1,400 young men have undergone this exile.
David Rainey, artistic director of The Landing Theatre Company, helped present a reading of Exit 27 in Houston last July. Rainey said, "We were struck by the importance of the subject matter and even more so by the quality of the writing, really extraordinary, and knew it deserved a fully -professional production." The drama has a cast of five and is directed by Anne Quackenbush.
8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and July 1 and 3. Through July 6. University of Houston/Downtown, 1 Main. For information, call 713-487-5634 or visit the theater's Web site. $20.
While it won't be mentioned by Willard Scott in his regular birthday greetings segment on The Today Show, the Houston Symphony is putting on its own celebration with the 100th Birthday Concert on Friday. The program will feature a grab bag of well-known classical works from famous composers (Beethoven, Bizet, Tchaikovsky), pop hits by Dolly Parton, some Disney songs and "a few surprises."
"I always enjoy conducting concerts at Miller Theatre," says Symphony Associate Conductor Robert Franz, who'll hold the baton at the B‑day shindig. "Performing in such a relaxed environment with an audience spanning several generations is so much fun for me." Houstonian LaKisha Jones, a finalist on American Idol, will also perform, along with the Memorial High School Choir, Houston Cougar Marching Band and Westside High School Dance Company.
8:30 p.m. 6000 Hermann Park Dr. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit the symphony's Web site. Free.
One of our picks for Saturday is the "LaToya Ruby Frazier's Witness" exhibit. "Witness" is ironically being held at a venue just yards away from Houston's impressive Texas Medical Center. We say ironically because the Medical Center is a stunning contrast to Frazier's photographs chronicling the pathetic access to healthcare available to Pennsylvania's poor.
At the heart of Frazier's "Witness," which includes more than 30 photographs, are works from a series of self-portraits shot in the 1980s by the artist and her mother. One of Frazier's more recent non-portrait works, the bleak black-and-white U.P.M.C. Braddock Hospital and Holland Avenue Parking Lot (2011), depicts the questionable demolition of her impoverished neighborhood's sole hospital. "At 48x60 inches, it's also one of her largest prints to date, and captures a stunning amount of detail," says Connie McAllister, CAMH's director of community engagement. Video and digital works are also being unveiled in this exhibit publicly for the first time, McAllister adds.
There's an opening reception at 6:30 p.m. June 21. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through October 13. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit the museum Web site. Free.
On Saturday, it's time to get science fiction-y once again as some of the best authors and artists in the speculative fiction genre return to ApolloCon 2013. It's a much more laid-back affair than the increasingly massive event that is Comicpalooza, which most Houston geeks are probably still recovering from. "We've got new guests and new movies and new art and people selling all kinds of things, many of which we've never seen before, but if you held my feet to the fire, I'd have to say that I most look forward to renewing my acquaintance with old friends and becoming acquainted with new friends," said Con Chair Jonathan Guthrie. The guest of honor is author Bradley Denton, whose hilarious comedic novel Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede is being made into a movie starring Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite). Selina Rosen, Bill Crider and many more will also be attending. There'll also be a screening of Judith B. Shields's steampunk reimagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. "How we are making the film unique is a light steampunk twist: What if instead of electricity, Victor Frankenstein reanimated the monster by steam?" said Shields. "Victor Frankenstein was known for studying all sciences, so it is not too far of a leap to have him experiment with steam. Our monster actually smokes."
Events are scheduled for noon to 3 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Houston -- Intercontinental Airport, 15747 John F. Kennedy Blvd. For information, visit the ApolloCon Web site. $20 to $45.
We've conducted a very scientific survey of the upcoming summer blockbuster films and have concluded that some 246 percent of all summer movies now involve superheroes. The Children's Museum is celebrating the reign of the hero with its Summer of Epic Adventure, our suggestion for Sunday fun. "Superheroes embody the qualities we want kids to be when they grow up: They're fearless, take chances, care for others, have a good heart, and fight for what's good and right," said Public Relations and Promotions Director Henry Yau. Kids will be able to learn the skills necessary to suit up and save the world. Activities will include gadget-building, costume-making, vehicle construction, and a series of mental and physical training exercises to assure participants are in peak shape once evil rears its ugly head.
On June 30, they'll celebrate the 75th birthday of Superman himself, with an appearance by the one and only Man of Steel. Special Superman Birthday Bash festivities include a chance to take photos and create your own iPad action comics and join Telephone Man in a heroic adventure where he calls on the Boredom Bandit to give up and release The Brain.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through June 30. Children's Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz. For information, call 713-522-1138 or visit the museum's Web site. Free to $9.
Jim J. Tommaney, Nancy Ford, Jef with One F and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.
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