Things To Do

Best Bets: Ziggy Stardust, Queen and a Black Light Art Show

Photo by Allen Zaki
Donnell Rawlings returns to the Houston Improv this weekend.
It’s National Fried Chicken Day, and if you’re so inclined, we couldn’t recommend a better meal before you head out to any of this week’s best bets. We got glow-in-the-dark art, a symphonic tribute to Queen, and a celebration of Houston’s star-lit musical theatre company. Keep reading for these and more of our picks.

Brothers Robert and Joseph Switzer are credited with inventing “fluorescent dyes, paints and penetrants” – meaning that because of the brothers, colors like Neon Red, Saturn Yellow and Horizon Blue exist (trademarked by the Day-Glo Color Corporation) and “Allied troops were not accidentally bombed by their own planes during World War II, boxes of Tide detergent glow on supermarket shelves and black light is big at rock concerts.” On Friday, July 7, at 7 p.m. you can revel in the beauty of glow-in-the-dark art during Insomnia Gallery’s Near Dark: A Black Light Art Show at The Hardy & Nance Studios. Don your best neon duds for the free, all-ages-welcome show featuring works from local artists. As usual, drinks will be available courtesy of Eureka Heights Brewery, Bad Astronaut Brewing Co., Equal Parts Brewing and City Orchard.
A film that’s “pleasures are as diverse and unexpected as a stroll through uncharted lands” is coming to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on Friday, July 7, at 7 p.m. when the museum presents Pietro Marcello’s Scarlet (L’Envol). The film, a “French fable” based on Alexander Grin’s Scarlet Sails, is “slower and more contemplative than modern audiences are conditioned to accept,” but lovers of “European art cinema with a retro flavor will want to check it out just for the combination of Jacques Demy-inspired musical numbers” not to mention “Terrence Malick-inflected shots of grass, trees, sky, water, and animals” and “intimate, intense scenes of characters from an earlier time doing what they have to do to survive and be happy.Scarlet will be screened a second time on Saturday, July 8, at 7 p.m. Tickets for either showing can be purchased for $7 to $9.

After stopping by Houston at least twice last year – once to the Houston Improv in January and once in August with comic EarthquakeDonnell Rawlings will return again to the Improv on Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. If you happen to have seen the comedian before, don’t worry; the Chappelle’s Show star told the Houston Press back in August that he’s “always been a person who is always changing his set,” adding that he is “not one of those comics who run the same show for years and years. I think it's like stealing money from people. I call them guys ‘the money grab.’” Rawlings will also perform at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, July 7; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 8; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9. Tables for any of the shows (all of which are age-restricted 18 and up) are still available here for $120 to $240.

Celebrate “one of the most versatile bands that rock has ever had,” fronted by a man so legendary that science has tried explaining why his voice was so good, on Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. when the Houston Symphony brings The Music of Queen to the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Conductor Brent Havens will lead the Symphony, along with vocalist MiG Ayesa – who has performed onstage in We Will Rock You and has more than a little experience singing Freddie Mercury – will run through some of Queen’s greatest hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Somebody to Love” and more. The concert will be performed a second time at the Hobby Center on Saturday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for either performance can be purchased here for $50 to $180.

You can find a little Memphis soul at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday, July 7, at 8:30 p.m. during An Evening With Booker T. Jones. The Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and Memphis Music Hall of Fame) inductee is renowned “as an arranger and house musician for Stax during the label’s golden age, then as a producer, musical director and keyboardist for generations of American musicians” whose “body of work spreads across whole branches in the family tree of 20th-century and 21st-century pop.” The performance is free and you can either reserve a ticket here (as of this morning, Thursday, July 6, at 10 a.m.) or you can grab a blanket or lawn chair and head for un-ticketed seating on the Hill. This one will be livestreamed, so you can also catch it on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel or Facebook page.
One of the “greatest concert documentaries of the 70s,” Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, will be shown on Sunday, July 7, at 2 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra. The film, directed by D. A. Pennebaker (a cinema vérité master behind documentaries like Monterey Pop and Don’t Look Back), chronicles the final appearance of Bowie’s androgynous, glam rock alter ego Ziggy Stardust as he performs at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1973. This particular showing features the 50th anniversary restoration, which includes classic Bowie songs like “Suffragette City” and “Oh! You Pretty Things,” as well as guitarist Jeff Beck’s cut performance scenes. Two additional screenings are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, and 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 10. Tickets for any of the screenings can be purchased here for $11 to $12.

For the first time since 2019, Theatre Under the Stars will return to Miller Outdoor Theatre on Tuesday, July 11, at 8:30 p.m. for a series of free concerts titled TUTS: A Celebration of Houston Stories and Songs. Directed by Mitchell Greco and featuring the talents of Mark Ivy, Courtney Markowitz, John Ryan, Raven Troup and Christina Wells, the 90-minute concert will feature songs pulled from TUTS’ 55-year history along with a live band, and students from the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre and The River. Covered seating tickets can be reserved here beginning at 10 a.m. on July 10 or you can bring a blanket or lawn chair and sit on the Hill. Additional performances are scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12; Thursday, July 13; Friday, July 14; and Saturday, July 15.