The Fourth of July falls on a Tuesday this year and, if you’re not careful, the long weekend might just put a hole in your wallet. Luckily, there’s plenty to keep you boredom-free at a budget-friendly rate, from a night of indie rock at Rudyard’s to classical at Miller Outdoor Theatre, a couple of art exhibits, some good books and even the not-so-ancient art of air sex (!) at The Secret Group. Keep reading for ten of our favorite events that won't cost you more than $10 — and seven of them are free! Check out the Houston Press calendar for even more things to do.
7 p.m. Thursday, free
Based on arguably Jane Austen’s most polarizing novel, Patricia Rozema’s 1999 dramedy starring Frances O’Connor as heroine Fanny Price and Elementary star Jonny Lee Miller as her love interest Edmund is a complex take that brings subtextual and background elements (like slavery and gender-based hypocrisy) to the fore and incorporates Austen’s own writing into Fanny’s dialogue to create a film Roger Ebert called “uncommonly intelligent.” Mansfield Park, screening as part of Brazos Bookstore’s Summer of Austen, commemorating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, may seem to diverge from the original text, but the end product may be closer to Austen’s values than it appears.
Missing Pages, Winter, Tee Vee and Cleen Teens
Rudyard’s British Pub
8 p.m. Thursday, $8
Missing Pages, a newish alt-rock four-piece straight outta Austin (with Sweet Talk's Stephen Svacina, Slow’s Garrick Thurston and Ali Copeland and Gabriel Pastura of ¿Que Pasa?) takes the stage at Rudyard’s tonight with L.A.-based Samira Winter’s four-piece dream pop band, Winter; Tee Vee, the electro-pop alter ego of Rose Ette’s Teresa Vicinanza; and local staple Cleen Teens. The show, presented by Wallflower Records, promises to be something special – just check out Missing Pages’ “Long Way Down,” Tee Vee’s “Angel Eyes” or Winter’s “All The Things You Do” for an idea. Note: This one is 21 and up only, please.
Flashmob book signing
Murder By The Book
6:30 p.m. Friday, free
Farnsworth's mind-reading John Smith, a former special ops agent first introduced in 2016’s Killfile, returns in Flashmob to take on the mastermind behind Downvote, a dark website that targets different people for death through social media. Though these days Smith is essentially a gun for hire to the highest bidder, Downvote’s latest victim, a reality TV star gunned down at her own wedding, makes the case personal for Smith, as he previously saved her from a kidnapping. The investigation takes Smith around the world in a book Publishers Weekly calls “brilliant” and about which it says “[m]any will want to read this novel in one sitting.”
“My Stories” opening reception
Russian Cultural Center - Our Texas
7:30 p.m. Friday, free
Following Maksim Koloskov’s “This is Houston. Pages From My Sketchbook” exhibit of ink and watercolor drawings of the city, the Russian Cultural Center – Our Texas opens “My Stories” from Azerbaijani artist Makhmud Makhmudzade. Makhmudzade was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and raised in Algeria before returning to Azerbaijan, where he studied at Azerbaijan State Institute of Arts. He currently lives in Baku and is often inspired by his surrounding environment, like the Caspian Sea. Admission is free, all artworks on view are available for sale, and wine will be served at the opening reception. “My Stories” will be on display until August 31.
Tchaikovsky & Mendelssohn
Miller Outdoor Theatre
8:30 p.m. Friday, free
Though his opera was poorly received and rarely staged outside of Russia, Mikhail Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila is often called a “curtain-raiser” and will open the program when the Houston Symphony returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre, led by Conductor Ben Gernon. Pianist George Li joins in for Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, quick to become a staple of the 19th-century piano repertoire upon its premiere despite being savaged by the great pianist Nikolai Rubinstein in 1874, before the program closes with Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1, his first symphony written after he turned pro at the ripe old age of 15.
“Tautologies & Memoirs” opening reception
Deborah Colton Gallery
6 p.m. Saturday, free
Up-and-coming artist Grayson Chandler, a Houston-born graduate of both Lanier Middle School and Lamar High School, opens a solo exhibit at Deborah Colton Gallery this month. Now pursuing a fine arts degree at the University of North Texas, Chandler presents a selection of paintings inspired by nature, the order and beauty of which Chandler abstracts in a way he hopes is both familiar and not. “Tautologies & Memoirs” will be on display through August 19.
Air Sex World Championships
The Secret Group
8 p.m. Saturday, $7
“You cannot unsee the Air Sex World Championships,” proclaimed a Huffington Post headline three years ago and, yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Invented in Japan, air sex is the act of a person simulating sexual activity, often exaggerated for comedic effect and set to music for your viewing pleasure. Considered spart (sport and art), Air Sex is now in its ninth year as a touring roadshow and can even boast a NSFW movie (simply titled Air Sex: The Movie). Hosted by comedian Roxy Castillo, it will be a show like no other as performers vie for the honor – and trophy – that awaits Houston’s best pelvic storyteller.
The Right Side book signing
Murder By the Book
2 p.m. Sunday, free
You may know Spencer Quinn (the pen name for author Peter Abrahams) for his seven Chet and Bernie books, a series of doggie-narrated comedic mysteries. In his new standalone book The Right Side, however, Quinn explores some heavier themes – duty, war, trust, PTSD – but rest assured, a dog still plays a key role. Quinn’s LeAnne Hogan, a vet dealing with the effects of multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is also reeling from multiple tragedies. Impulsively, LeAnne flees her military hospital, becomes obsessed with a missing girl and finds a friend in a stray dog. In case it’s not obvious, be warned: Kirkus calls this one “emotionally difficult reading.”
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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
5 p.m. Sunday, $9
Legendary ’60s documentarian D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back), with a team that included innovator Richard Leacock and one half of the Maysles, Albert (who with his brother, David, made Salesmen, Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter), captured 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival with their cinéma vérité lens in what’s proven to be a Summer of Love-defining concert film. The festival launched the careers of Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar and Janis Joplin, performing with Big Brother and the Holding Company; produced iconic images, like Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar; and offered a Who’s Who of ’60s musicians including everyone above, Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas and the Papas, and The Who.
4th of July Celebration at Bayou Bend
Noon Tuesday, free
Here’s a novel way to spend the Fourth of July holiday: by listening to every word of the Declaration of Independence at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston house museum, Bayou Bend. The museum’s collection, housed in the former River Oaks home of notable Houstonian Ima Hogg, includes American decorative arts (silver, furnishings and ceramics) and paintings, and is the perfect setting to celebrate the country’s birthday. For the 11th year, Bayou Bend will be open (from noon to 5 p.m.), rain or shine, offering performances, crafts, activities, refreshments and two readings of the Declaration of Independence, each followed by a lemonade toast on the Diana Terrace.