Things To Do

Best Bets: Comicpalooza, Sin Muros and Appropriate

Photo by Sean Bellinger
Pop culture aficionados party at the Friday Night Bash at Comicpalooza.

The end of May is quickly approaching and that means only one thing: a three-day weekend is right around the corner. If you’re looking for something to do before and after you pay your respects, we recommend consulting our list of best bets below, which include theater, ballet, and the most pop culture of pop culture events. Keep reading for these and more.

A 19th century murder-suicide involving the Crown Prince of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his 17-year-old mistress inspired Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s 1978 ballet Mayerling, which the Houston Ballet will open at the Wortham Theater Center on Thursday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. Principal Skylar Campbell, who is one of three principal dancers who will perform the role of Crown Prince Rudolf, recently told the Houston Press that the story may be “difficult” for some to digest due to its “sensitive themes,” the ballet “still provides relevant insight into the human condition.” Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays through June 2. Tickets can be purchased here for $25 to $220.

Somewhere in Columbia people begin turning into hippos, and those hippos are somehow connected to an infamous drug lord, in Franky D. Gonzalez’s play Escobar’s Hippo, the first of four plays selected for Stages2024 Sin Muros: A Latinx Theater Festival and presented via a live reading at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. The festival, which returns to Stages to celebrate Latinx voices and stories for the seventh time, will also features the work of Jasminne Mendez and Rosarito Rodríguez-González, matthew paul olmos, and Diego Lanao. You can view the full festival schedule here, which includes post-show Q&As, workshops and more. Tickets to each reading are available for $5 here, or you can get a $10 festival pass to access all three of the live readings.

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Cosplay watch at this weekend's Comicpalooza.
Photo by Darrell Williams

The three-day pop culture festival extravaganza Comicpalooza returns to the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday, May 24, from 2 to 8 p.m. Countless fandoms will be represented, along with gaming, dance performances, cosplay, shopping and plenty of special attractions, exhibitors and entertainment from places like Classical Theatre Company, Texas All Star Wrestling and Shōgeki Sumo. And, of course, there will be celebrity guest panels and photo and autograph opportunities with authors, artists, and performers from films like Back to the Future and Napoleon Dynamite (which happens to be celebrating its 20th anniversary). The festival continues from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. Admission tickets can be purchased here for $6 to $139.

George Frideric Handel’s not oft performed Amadigi di Gaula, an opera about a sorceress and jealous friend who try to interfere with a set of lovers, is coming to the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. as Ars Lyrica Houston concludes their 20th season. The new fully staged production marks the Houston premiere of Handel’s 1715 opera and features four talented performers: sopranos Raven McMillon and Nola Richardson, and countertenors Nicholas Garza and Randall Scotting. The opera will be performed a second time on Saturday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m., a performance which will also be livestreamed. In-person tickets are available here for $15 to $90, and access to the livestream can be purchased here for $20.

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Dancin’ in the Street…Motown and More Revue returns to Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Photo by Eric Michael Ward
Classic songs from artists like Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye will fill Miller Outdoor Theatre when the venue presents Dancin’ in the Street…Motown and More Revue on Thursday, May 23, at 8:15 p.m. Produced for their 25th season by Bacement Foundation for the Arts, the free show will also be presented at 8:15 p.m. on Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25. Due to its anticipated popularity, a lottery system will be used to distribute tickets. If you want to reserve tickets, the lottery will be open the day before each performance from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ticketless seating on the Hill is still available and Friday night’s performance will be livestreamed on the Miller Outdoor Theatre website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Disturbing histories are unearthed as a family returns to their former Arkansas plantation home in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Appropriate, which Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. will open on Friday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. to close their season. The spoiler-hating Jacobs-Jenkins has described Appropriate as simply “a family drama in the American mode,” while also noting that the play (which earned eight nominations at next month’s Tony Awards including Best Revival) is “more about revealing and testing the values of the people who show up to watch.” Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Monday, May 27, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the MATCH through June 8. Single tickets can be purchased here for $30, with pay-what-you-can tickets available for matinees and the Monday, May 27, performance.

Four hours is a commitment, but “if you see a single four-hour film about the transitional generation of Chinese refugees born in Taiwan after the Communist takeover,” it should be Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day, which will screen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Saturday, May 25, at 2 p.m. Inspired by “the real-life murder of a teenage girl by a classmate, committed in Taipei on June 15, 1961,” the 1991 “true crime story” has been described as a “sprawling, melancholy and surpassingly beautiful film” that “seethes with the spirit of confused, ardent rebellion that you also find in Hollywood movies from the 1950s and early ’60s, like East of Eden or Rebel Without a Cause.” Tickets are available here for $7 to $9

Dance Source Houston is back with Barnstorm Dance Fest 2024, a festival that includes more than 30 live performance works, dance films, classes and artist panels. The live works will be presented across three programs with the first program (Program A) set for Tuesday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the MATCH. One choreographer that will be showcased is Travis Prokop, who recently told OutSmart Magazine that his featured solo will run “the audience through some queer topics such as traditional versus nontraditional relationships, referencing how queer people have to find their place and exit the closet,” and “how people are looking for a place that they can fit in.” The festival continues through June 1 and tickets are $25 for each single program (or you can get a three-program pass for $65) here.