It's a very, very musical weekend, as our Top Five Things to Do in Houston list shows with four of our picks being music-related. First up for Friday is Houston Symphony: Video Games Live. According to Tommy Tallarico, game music celebrity and host for the concert, video game soundtrack sales now outnumber film score album sales three to one. "When someone plays a video game they become that character...and the music becomes the soundtrack of their lives," Tallarico tells us via email. It's been five years since VGL last visited Houston and today's performance features a completely new set list, so fan anticipation is high. Expect to hear music from Skyrim, Pokemon, Super Smash Bros., Shadow of the Colossus, Street Fighter II, Journey, Donkey Kong Country and revitalized segments from Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft. If there's something special that you want to hear, fan suggestions are being accepted on the VGL Facebook page.
Pre- and post-concert events include a costume contest, Guitar Hero competition and a meet-and-greet with top composers and designers of the game industry. Mega-fans might want to opt for the Ultimate Gamer V.I.P. Backstage Experience package, with a pre-show production tour and meeting with Tallarico, the VGL creator, front-of-the-line access to the VGL post-show meet-and-greet and a bag of goodies including a download card for the special extended Video Games Live: Level 2 album, a vintage VGL poster and laminated backstage tour pass.
7:30 p.m. Friday. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-3974 or visit the symphony's website. $25 to $100.
Also on Friday, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston kicks its cool factor into overdrive during Steel Lounge Underground, an evening of music, drinks and video art. "It's really a fun party, but we hope more than that," Connie McAllister, director of community engagement tells us via email. "Every year, we see an incredibly diverse crowd coming for the music [then] spending time exploring the art in the galleries."
The DJs this year were personally selected by Josh Zulu and Derek Jones of Soular Grooves. Acts include the nu-disco selections of Josh Dupont, Caribbean/reggae pieces from DJ Supa Neil, and Fistful of Soul founder Stewart Anderson. You'll also get live video performances from NoiseFold, an interactive media group founded by artists David Stout and Cory Metcalf. NoiseFold will be showing i I I, a three-screen ultra-wide black-and-white panoramic projection.
8 p.m. 5216 Montrose Blvd. For information, call 713 284 8250 or visit the museum's website. Free.
First time director Laura Archibald crystallizes the Golden Era between 1961 and 1973 when musicians, poets, artists and other creative malcontents gave voice and melody to one of the most chaotic and inspiring periods of American history with her film Greenwich Village: The Music That Defined a Generation, screening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Friday. "We had chosen to be part of a musically relevant social cultural experience, and we were giving it our best," eyewitness and folk music matriarch Judy Collins recalls. Turns out, their best was very, very good. In the 2012 documentary, we also hear from the crème de la crème of similarly inspired souls, including singers, songwriters and philosophers Tom Chapin, José Feliciano, Arlo Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, Don McLean, Pete Seeger and Peter Yarrow. Together, these diverse genii found accommodating stages in New York's bohemian Greenwich Village, lending a more pronounced, more-focused-than-San-Francisco's super-druggy-West-Coast beat to The Beat Generation. Simultaneously, they provided cantata to the dawn of JFK's civil rights Camelot, through LBJ's bloody Vietnam and the fall of the House of Nixon.
7 p.m. Fridays. Through July 12. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. For information call 713-639-7515 or visit the museum's website. $9.
Giant bugs are such a terrifying idea that they actually have their own apocalyptic film subgenre. Throw "robotics" into the mix and you have "Backyard Monster" (the educational exhibit for the whole family, not a 1950s sci-fi flick), our pick for Saturday. The bugs are the products of Garner Holt Productions, who have more than 30 years in the animatronics game. These insect creations offer visitors a chance to see the normally minute workings of these animals in mind-blowing proportions. A monarch butterfly on display sports a 19-foot wingspan, more than the ancient sky titan Quetzalcoatlus. Visitors get a chance to actually control the massive metal constructs, including a gigantic praying mantis. There's also an impressive display of regular-sized insects and arachnids to see and learn about, a station that allows you to look through the compound eyes of a bug, and a chance to master the flight of insects with radio controlled flyers. Plenty of creepy, crawly fun.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through September 2. The Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Dr. For information, call 713-521-1515 or visit the museum website. $6 to $8.
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Young love will be on display in all its musical splendor on Sunday in Roger Bean's The Marvelous Wonderettes: Caps and Gowns at Stages Repertory Theatre. Houston audiences first met high school friends Cindy Lou, Missy, Betty Jean and Suzy in The Marvelous Wonderettes (2010), then saw them again in Winter Wonderettes (2011).
Director/choreographer Melissa Rain Anderson says: "[Caps and Gowns] is an exciting new chapter in the Wonderette story. This piece is filled with zany Wonderette antics, as well as poignant moments, as the ladies share some never-before-known secrets!" Act I focuses on the joy of puppy love and the angst of graduation. Act II catches up with them over a decade later. As with the two previous Wonderettes shows, Caps and Gowns is most definitely a jukebox musical, with about 30 songs including "Rock Around the Clock" and "River Deep, Mountain High."
7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through September 1. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit the theater's website. $23 to $41.
Jef with One F, Jim J. Tommaney and Nancy Ford contributed to this post.