The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Samurai Warriors, François Truffaut and More

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Courtesy of the Houston Museum of Natural Science
Seven hundred years of Japanese history and tradition goes on display when the "Samurai: The Way of the Warrior" exhibit opens at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Friday. Composed of pieces from one of the most important private Samurai collections outside of Japan, "Warrior" includes rare and elegant examples of the samurai's complex armor and advanced weaponry, along with cavalry equipment and personal items. "The swords that they carried were exquisite works of art and incredibly technologically advanced," says Dr. David Temple, an anthropological curator for the museum. "The elaborate armor that they wore, the weaponry that they used, all of that communicated not only the traditions of the samurai but also the power of [the Japanese state they served]."

As heavy and bulky as some of the armor is, it would seem the samurai would find it difficult to walk, much less fight. Temple tells us much of what's on display is ceremonial regalia, rather than everyday outfitting. "You didn't use all of these [items] on the battlefield, but they were certainly adapted from the battlefield. The swords seen in the exhibit, for example, were extremely effective weapons, but they were more often used in ceremonial [functions] or as badges of honor for the elite. Bows would certainly be used more often on the battlefield."

The exhibit also includes ink wells, correspondence boxes and writing tools "You think, samurais writing? But it made perfect sense. In order to administer the government, they had to write decrees and keep records. They were administrating an empire and writing was important."

See "Samurai: The Way of the Warrior" 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Through September 7, 2015. 5555 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713‑639‑4629 or visit hmns.org. $25.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Revolve Dance Company and More

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Gothic South Productions
From A Wider Lens, Revolve on Camera
Revolve Dance Company is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a program of new works entitled X over a two-day run on Friday and Saturday. Choreographers/dancers Amy Cain, Lindsey McGill and Dawn Dippel created the new works, which include Cain's jazz pieces The Search (about the struggle between living in the now and planning for the future) and Pride (inspired by the male-­­female relationships found inside a lion pride), Dippel's contemporary Butterfly Effect and McGill's Something Wonderful is Going to Happen. Also on the program are excerpts from Revolve on Camera, (seen above) a dance film by Gothic South Productions that will be screened later in the week at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as part of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival.

Catch X at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Barn, 2201 Preston. For information, call 281‐363‐2475 or visit ­revolvedanceco.com. $20.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: From Marilyn Monroe to Otello

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Courtesy of Limited Runs
Detail of a photo of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Prince and The Showgirl
Our first suggestion for Friday is the short-run exhibit "Marilyn Monroe: The Lost Photos of a Hollywood Star." Many of the images seen in the collection "The Lost Photos" were, in fact, literally lost. Mischa Pelz's photos, taken in 1953, were found by his former assistant after an earthquake damaged the storeroom where they were being kept. Cinematographer Thomas "Doc" Kaminski, who documented the filming of The Misfits in 1960, shot candid photos of the actors on the set and mailed them home to his family, where they went unnoticed for 40 years.

Family members found photos taken by Allan "Whitey" Snyder, Monroe's makeup artist and a close friend, in an attic. "They always knew they [existed]," says Pierre Vudrag, the founder of Limited Runs and curator for the exhibit, "but they didn't know exactly where they were.

"She and Allan were very, very close friends," Vudrag tells us. "She met Allan when she did her very first screen test and he had just been hired as a makeup artist. They were both coming up together and they hit it off. He worked with her right up to her death. They were so close that she asked him, 'If I die before you, I want you to do my makeup.' In the end, he did her makeup and was a pallbearer at her funeral. They were very close friends, so I think you see a lot of her not in the typical Hollywood pose. You see her, who she was behind the persona. You see her just being with her friends, just being Norma Jean."

"Lost Photos" is available for viewing noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Bisong Art Gallery, 1305 Sterrett Street. For information, visit limitedruns.com. Free.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: The Noche de los Muertos Celebration, Byron Stripling and More

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From Marius
The 3rd Annual Mediterranean Film Festival adds films from Spain this year. Organized by the Houston-area consulates of Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Spain and Turkey, and in conjunction with Rice University Media Center, the festival screens several films from the region including an adult retelling of Snow White and what may be the first Christmas movie made in Turkey.

On Friday, there's an opening reception followed by the French film, Marius (6 p.m.). As the first film in Daniel Auteuil's remake of Marcel Pagnol's trilogy of plays, "Marius is a high-profile film...[and] a great costume drama," Dr. Charles Dove, cinema director at Rice University, tells us. Set in 1920s Marseille, the story follows Marius, a man with a wanderlust for the sea, and Fanny, the young woman who loves him.


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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Sexy Devils, Otello and More

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It's hard to imagine a Monster Mash where the partiers are both semi-naked yet still somehow costumed, but if there's any place that can pull such a thing off, it's The Colorado Bar & Grill. It is, after all, a hunting-lodge-themed topless bar filled with not only stages full of dancing hotties, but also some of the most interesting hunting trophies this side of a safari, so they're used to blowing people's minds with the unexpected.

On Friday, things in that hot hunting haven will get even more exotic when the hallways full of famed patron memorabilia are filled with costumed dancers and patrons, all celebrating The Colorado Halloween Monster Mash in true strip-pub style. The Colorado is even awarding prizes and trophies for the best costumes at this day-long party, and should you win, we fully encourage you to display the gleaming beacon on your shelf with pride. You've earned it, buddy.

Expect Monster Mash fun all day, starting at 11 a.m. Colorado Bar & Grill, 6710 SW Freeway. For information, call 713-781-1122 or visit thecoloradobarandgrill.com.$7.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Get a Jump on Halloween

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Halloween is still a couple of weeks away, but we suggest you get a head start on all of the spooky, scary, scream-worthy happenings this weekend. Be sure to check out our Halloween Guide. It's packed with info on haunted houses, pub crawls, ghost tours and family fun events.

On Friday, we suggest a visit to Nightmare on the Bayou. (If you've ever wondered what causes all those traffic jams on I-10 and Studemont, Nightmare on the Bayou is why.) It's a ridiculously scary haunted house located right next to an old graveyard and is known as Houston's only actual haunted house. As in, this place is known to have some real spirits lurking about, along with those freaky actors. Lines wrap around the building as Halloween inches closer, which means you should probably check it out this weekend. Just watch out for the ice-cold hands; it'll be hard to tell whether the thing that grabbed you is still rocking a steady heartbeat or lacking a pulse. Either way, it's a guarantee that you'll be shaking in your boots for days after a visit to this haunted house.

7:30 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 26; , 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. daily from October 27 until November 1. 1515 Studemont. For information, visit nightmareonthebayou.com. $20 to $40.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Red Death, Ren Fest and More

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Our first pick for Friday is Lisa D'Amour's black comedy Red Death, making its Houston premiere at Mildred's Umbrella. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," it's the story of Jane, a woman who's been tasked with finding the "origin of evil, the root of denial, and the basic human weakness" by a mysterious and secret panel. Red Death follows Jane from Florida's beaches to the Adriatic Sea to the sewers of Texas as she goes to drastic lengths to accomplish her mission. Or should we say, her interpretation of her mission. (Her version isn't quite what the panel had in mind.)

It's directed by Mildred's Umbrella's artistic director, Jennifer Decker, who tells us the play's multiple locations were a concern from a technical standpoint. "Our space is small, and there are many locations and quick costume changes for the lead character, which is always a challenge." She credits the company's "fabulous designers," Jodi Bobrovski, Greg Starbird, Lindsay Burns and Andy McWilliams, with solving the various problems leading to a glitch-free production.

D'Amour's Detroit is coincidentally being performed this season by Catastrophic Theatre. The double dose of D'Amour was accidental. "That wasn't planned," Decker tells us, "but I think it's kind of cool."

8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Monday, October 20. Through October 25. Studio 101, 1824 Spring. For information, call 832‑463‑0409 or visit mildredsumbrella.com. Pay-what-you-can to $20.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Robert Hodge, Sarah Chang and More

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Courtesy of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Visual artist Robert Hodge won't have far to drive when he attends his first ever solo museum show on Friday. Hodge grew up in and still has his studio in Third Ward, just a few blocks away from the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The exhibit, "Robert Hodge: Destroy & Rebuild,"is a collection of recent and new work. The pieces, works on paper, are made up several layers of found paper (posters, signs and such) that Hodge collected from around the city. Hodge cut text in the top layer, so the viewer sees bits and pieces of the paper underneath. The text comes from music lyrics. Among them is "There's a war going on outside no man is safe from / You can run but you can't hide forever" from hardcore hip-hop duo Mobb Deep's "Survival of the Fittest." There's also "The Great Electric Show and Dance" (seen above), a nod to Houston blues guitarist Lightnin' Hopkins.

There's an opening reception at 6:30 p.m. on October 3. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through January 4. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713 284 8250 or visit camh.org. Free.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Rigoletto, Detroit and More

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It's hard to know who to root for in Rigoletto, Verdi's tragedy being presented by Opera in the Heights and our choice for Friday. There's the Duke. An indulgent tyrant, he beds women -- from young, innocent virgins to manipulating women of the court -- as casual entertainment. There's the title character, Rigoletto. He's an ugly, hunchbacked court jester who mocks the put-upon husbands who have to stand by and watch as the Duke openly seduces their wives. There's Gilda, Rigoletto's daughter. Shut away by her father in an effort to protect her from the Duke, Gilda falls in love with a man she sees in church. The man is, of course, the rakish Duke. The three are on a collision course that will leave one of them dead and one of them brokenhearted.

The role of Rigoletto is shared by Octavio Moreno and Daniel Scofield.

Profiled in our 100 Creatives series earlier this year, Moreno is a Houston Theater Awards finalist for his performance in the OH! production of Lucia di Lammermoor last season. Scofield, who is making his company debut. Dane Suarez and Bernard Holcomb share the role of the Duke, while Gilda is played by Erin Kenneavy. At the podium, as always, is OH! Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo.

See Rigoletto at 7:30 p.m. September 26 and 27, October 2, 3 and 4; 2 p.m. September 28 and October 5. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit operaintheheights.org. $35 to $67.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Andre Watts, Ira Glass and More

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Andre Watts
There's an interesting backstory to the piano concerto that is the focus of the Houston Symphony's concert Andre Watts Plays Rachmaninoff, our pick for Friday. The Russian pianist and composer had fallen into a deep depression after the critical failure of his first symphony (the work later went on to much acclaim). Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in Cm, Op. 18 was considered brilliant at its 1901 premiere, a signal the composer had fully recovered. The concerto has been called "among the most beautiful music in the world" and is one of the most popular among Watts's repertoire.

There's an extended clarinet solo in the second movement that will be played by symphony member Thomas LeGrand. According to him, "It is a true masterwork and it's absolutely beautiful, especially in the hands of a really fine pianist and a good orchestra." LeGrand goes on to say that while the backstory is interesting, it isn't necessary for an audience to know it in order to appreciate the piece. "I think the time Rachmaninoff was going through at that moment in his personal life is very evident in his music. And I think it speaks without the story. [The] music speaks for itself very clearly, [with] the beautiful, radiant quality...the excitement. It's really a very uplifting piece."

See Andre Watts Plays Rachmaninoff at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713‐224‐7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $25 to $130.

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