Special Events

Best Bets: Mixed Media, Harry Potter and a Gaming Expo

The Suffers headline the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's late-night party, Mixed Media.
Photo by Agave Bloom Photography
The Suffers headline the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's late-night party, Mixed Media.
Today is Embrace Your Geekness Day, and if your particular brand of geekiness happens to be related to video games, the Harry Potter series or musical theater, you're in for a treat this week. Below are this week's best bets, which include all of the above and much more. 

It may not be an easy watch, but Tori and Lokita, the latest from brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, has been called “their best new movie in years.” The film, “a tight, heartrending social realist drama” screening at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 14, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, follows “two characters, African immigrants struggling to survive in a new land that despises them for their skin color, their national origin, and their poverty.” Like other films from the Dardenne brothers, the story is “about outcasts,” and the film is “a suspense thriller about moral conscience, one that takes place in and around a gray, Belgian city.Tori and Lokita will also screen at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16. Tickets are available for any of the showings here for $7 to $9.

You may know Zeshan Bagewadi, or Zeshan B, as a Chicagoan whose signature combination of “classic soul sound with lyrics that pay tribute to his South Asian roots” has earned critical acclaim following the release of his 2017 album Vetted, which Bagewadi himself described as “a hodgepodge of tempestuous soul arias and ballads, some tales of ecstasy and urban despair.” On Friday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m., Bagewadi and his band (along with gospel singers from right here in Houston) will bring music from his upcoming album, Oh Say Can You See – a collaborative project created with Stay Tuned with Preet-host Preet Bharara – to Asia Society Texas as part of their Muslim Series. A reception is scheduled to follow the performance, and tickets to the performance can be purchased here for $30.

It’s been 22 years since the release of the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, and the Chris Columbus-directed film is still “a red-blooded adventure” that is “filled with the gruesome and the sublime” and “dripping with atmosphere” – atmosphere that is in no small part due to John Williams’s memorable score. On Friday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. you can hear that score live as the Houston Symphony, led by Conductor Brett Mitchell, takes up residence at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts for Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert. The concert will be performed two more times at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Tickets can be purchased here for $59 to $165. Or, you can catch the concert over at Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22.
The gaming industry is booming, and you can see it firsthand at the Houston Gaming Expo on Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The event’s owner and producer, Ludgier Rington, recently told Great Day Houston that the expo is “not just for professional gamers” but everyone who likes video games, noting that there will be “a lot of free gaming – everyone’s going to get to play a video game.” This includes eSports tournaments, vintage and indie games, exhibitors and panels, opportunities to meet professional players, video game designers and cosplayers. The expo will continue on Sunday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Passes can be purchased here – general admission passes for the weekend are $55, while single day general admission is $29. (Single day passes for kids aged eight to 12 are $10 and children under seven get in free.)

Apparently, the average wedding cost dropped from $28,000 pre-pandemic to $19,000, and yes, millennials and their non-traditional choices are shouldering the blame. Generational differences aside, if you’re in the market for wedding and wedding-adjacent materials, you’ll want to head over to the George R. Brown Convention Center on Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Bridal Extravaganza, the biggest bridal show in the southwest. In this case, that means more than 160 vendors complete with cakes, décor, flowers and fashion shows (not to mention backdrops for selfies, speakers, and even a Vegas-style gaming area offering prizes. The Bridal Extravaganza continues on Sunday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission tickets can be purchased here for $15 online (and will be available at the door for $25). There is also a VIP admission admission option for $49.
The work of Noël Coward – playwright, actor, director, and in general multi-hyphenate – returns to Main Street Theater on Saturday, July 15, at 7:30 p.m. with the opening of Coward’s play Present Laughter. Semi-autobiographical, the three-act, fast-paced comedy focuses on an actor in the middle of a mid-life crisis. The production’s director, Claire Hart-Palumbo, recently told the Houston Press that “Coward is the comedian for people who want to be entertained, who want to be somewhat mentally challenged and just have a good time" noting that despite the play’s farcical nature, Coward “loved to write intelligent characters. Even the clown characters have something important or intelligent to say." Performances will continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through August 13. Tickets can be purchased here for $39 to $59.

It’s a party over at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on Saturday, July 15, from 8 p.m. to midnight when drinks, live music and art collide during Mixed Media at the Beck Building. In addition to after-hours access to “William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows” – which the Houston Chronicle says “teems with life” and is more environment than exhibit, “comprising woodcuts, video, animation, sculpture, charcoal, paint, tapestry, ledgers, shadow boxes, music, propaganda-style posters and a few devices that exude a Rube Goldberg-esque panache” – you can enjoy the musical stylings of DJ Tay Powers, singer-songwriter Lenora, and the Gulf Coast soul of The Suffers. Tickets to the 18-and-older-only, late-night party can be purchased here for $25 to $30. (And if you can’t make it, you can still enjoy the William Kentridge exhibit until September 10.)

TUTS: A Celebration of Houston Stories and Songs takes over the Miller Outdoor Theatre stage for the last time on Saturday, July 15, at 8:30 p.m. and for the final night, you can expect something a little extra special. In honor of Miller’s 100th anniversary, not only can you enjoy the 90-minute, Mitchell Greco-directed show – featuring musical performances from shows produced throughout Theatre Under The Stars’ history – you can come out at 6:30 p.m. for Celebrate Miller: An Evening of Imagination. That’s two hours of pre-show activities for the whole family, with magicians, puppet shows, a mural, and photo ops inside a larger-than-life birthday cake. Covered seating tickets can be reserved here for TUTS: A Celebration of Houston Stories and Songs beginning at 10 a.m. on July 14 or you can grab a blanket or lawn chair and plan to sit on the Hill.