Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Pop Shop Houston, Memphis: The Musical and Yep, It's Christmas
Houston boasts a tremendously eclectic artist community, and there are a multitude of people creating so many wonderful works all around the city. The only question is: where to find them all at once? Brittany Bly created Pop Shop Houston: Indie Craft, Art, & Music Festival last year as a solution. The festival runs Friday and Saturday.
"What makes Houston so unique is its diversity," Bly said by e-mail. "We can have Fat Tony, indie craft, an arcade, gorgeous sculptures and kids' crafting all in the same space, [and] it fits together." Some 100 individuals and collectives will line the booths at Silver Street Studios showing off everything from paintings to comics, sculptures to jewelry, clothing (see the handmade felt booties above) to things beyond any practical definition. Urban Izzy and Shoe Bar will be at the festival, and Park Boutique is having its grand opening at the event.
Noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Silver Street Studios, 1501 Silver. For information, call 713-659-9491 or visit the event's website. $17.
On Friday and Saturday, Felicia Boswell reprises her role as a black singer in love with a white DJ in the 1950s for Memphis: The Musical. The show won a fistful of Tony Awards -- Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book and Best Orchestrations -- when it first hit Broadway. Memphis is loosely based on the life -- more, on the spirit -- of mid-20th century DJ Dewey Phillips, who was responsible for bringing a black-sounding Elvis Presley to the segregated radio waves. The musical, by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan (yes, David Bryan, the Bon Jovi keyboard player), reimagines what might have happened, sort of, had Elvis been a black woman. (The show's tag line is "His vision. Her voice. The birth of rock -n- roll.") Think Hairspray without the drag or Dreamgirls without the diva-tude.
Courtesy of The Grand 1894 Opera House Felicia Boswell in Memphis, The Musical
8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, call 409-765-1894 or visit the Grand Opera House's website. $28 to $48.
It's Christmas and there are elves, Santas and reindeer coming out of the woodwork. Here's the first of three yuletide events we recommend this weekend. The Children's Museum of Houston is honoring the one and only Theodor Geisel, more popularly known as Dr. Seuss, with an exhibit called "Merry Grinchmas: The Art of Dr. Seuss;" it's one of our picks for Saturday. The museum's halls will be filled with Seuss's unique artwork from dozen's of books including The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who and, of course, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Courtesy of the Children's Museum of Houston From How the Grinch Stole Christmas
"What's made Dr. Seuss's style so lasting and beloved is that his stories transcend cultures and generations," said Henry Yau, public relations and promotions director at the children's Museum. "They are whimsical, colorful, fun and there's always a lesson to be learned. Those lessons are told in cheeky satire, but they are told in a way that children understand."
In addition to examples of his world-famous book art, there will also be rarely shown drawings done for advertising, political cartoons and military propaganda on display in order to better grasp the entirety of the artist's amazing life. Also included will be some of his unorthodox taxidermy collection -- lifelike mounted heads of whimsical characters in the style of Dr. Seuss.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through February 24. 1500 Binz. For information, call 713-535-7264 or visit the museum's website. Free to $9.
Our first choice for Sunday almost didn't happen this holiday season. This was going to be the first year in a while that the Alley Theatre did not present its one-man show The Santaland Diaries starring company member Todd Waite. That was right up until ticket buyers started calling in, complaining that they couldn't find the David Sedaris play about a Macy's Department Store elf on the schedule and wanted to see it. The Alley did a quick about-face. "It really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside," Waite says, grinning. "A large portion of the audience are people returning. Which is funny, 'cause sometimes you hear people get the joke just before it should actually be gotten."
Photo by Jann Whaley Todd Waite as Crumpet the Elf in The Santaland Diaries
Known for his two standout and vastly different iconic roles -- Crumpet the Elf and Sherlock Holmes -- Waite says he doesn't change up the script except for a few ad-libs (be prepared to be shelled if your cell phone goes off), but he does review video before each season to see where he can fine-tune his line delivery or movements. His elf costume -- a highlight of the show when it is revealed -- gets remade each year. "Yes, they rebuild it, but then they break it down to look old."
Waite says the play, about a department store elf who rails against mean Santas and obsessed parents alike, works so well because "it has all those details that strong writing has. It has specificity of observation. It has humor that drops into moments of sincerity just at the right time. And above all, though it watches humanity with a critical eye, it is full of love, especially of children."
7:30 p.m, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6 and 9 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Through December 31. 615 Texas. For information, call 713-220-5700 or visit the theater's website. $26 to $50.
A wooden nutcracker comes to life and takes a little girl named Clara (and the rest of us) on a magical adventure in Ben Stevenson's production of The Nutcracker, performed here by the Houston Ballet and one of our choices for Sunday. Set to lush music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Stevenson's classic holiday ballet features dozens of fantasy characters, from King Rat and Snow Queen to the Sugar Plum Fairy and dancing dolls. The show, an annual tradition for many, is a highlight of Houston's holiday season, and is enjoying its 26th anniversary this year.
Photo by Amitava Sarkar Allison Miller and a member of the Houston Ballet in The Nutcracker
Performance dates and times vary including 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 1. Through December 29. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For a full schedule, call 713‑227‑2787 or visit the company's website. $40 to $125.
Jef with One F, Margaret Downing and Nancy Ford contributed to this post.