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

Categories: Top 5

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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

Categories: Top 5

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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

Categories: Top 5

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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

Categories: Top 5

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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

Categories: Top 5

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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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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Opening Night Concert With Andrés & More

Categories: Top 5

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Photo by Christina Carfora
Detail of a work by Christina Carfora
The eight women currently in residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft -- Christina Carfora, Paris Jomadiao, Grace Zuniga, Lauren Salazar, Caitie Sellers, Delaney Smith, Kamila Szczesna and Demitra Thomloudis -- exhibit their latest creations in the group show "In Residence: Work by 2013 Resident Artists." Two of the women, ceramist Carfora and filmmaker Jomadiao, have been profiled in the Houston Press 100 Creatives series. Carfora's work often examines the relationship between change and preservation and is frequently inspired by her travels (she's visited 23 countries so far). Jomadiao uses her cut-paper illustrations in stop-motion animations and experimental films. Her work often reflects the duality of objects in the physical world and images in the digital realm. There's an opening reception with the artists at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through November 9. 4848 Main. For information, call 713‑529‑4848 or visit crafthouston.org. Free.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: The God Game and More

Categories: Top 5

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Photo by Gabriella Nissen
Kim Tobin-Lehl and Philip Lehl in The God Game
Tom is a young rising political star, a moderate Republican senator. He is approached by Matt, an old family friend who works for a right-wing presidential candidate. The offer is made: Would he like to join the ticket as the vice presidential nominee? "There's just one catch," says playwright Suzanne Bradbeer. "We'd like you to sound more Christian. Can you just bump that up for us a little bit? They don't know that our character is actually an agnostic."

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Dark Matter: Evidence of Things Unseen and More

Categories: Top 5

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Photo by Lynn Lane
On Friday, NobleMotion Dance, one of our favorite performing arts companies, premieres its latest evening-length program, Dark Matter: Evidence of Things Unseen. Inspired by Einstein's theory of relativity, Darwin's theory of natural selection and the Holy Bible, Dark Matter explores such lofty ideas as our place in the universe, the human condition, and the intersection of science and faith. Promotional materials say, "The theater [will be] transformed into a planetarium...and the dancers [will] test the limits of gravity." The athletic, accomplished dancers of NobleMotion have often tested the limits of gravity, and we're excited to see what promises to be a dramatic and bold performance in Dark Matter.

See Dark Matter: Evidence of Things Unseen at 8 p.m. August 29 and 30, September 4 to 6. The Barn, 2201 Preston. For information, call 832‑627‑9963 or visit noblemotiondance.com. $20 to $25.

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The Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Quench and More

Categories: Top 5

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Photo by Lynn Lane
From Quench
Can't make it to the beach? Not to worry, starting this Friday, FrenetiCore Dance is bringing the water to you in Quench.

Choreographer Rebecca French and her collaborators are reportedly set to explore "the dynamic depths and transcendent nature of water." (Believe us, it's going to be much, much wilder than it sounds!) Some 14 dancers perform in Quench as glamorous mermaids, lovely water sprites, bathing beauties and aquatic gods. Using water as a symbol of life,

French and company dive into the deep end of the pool with live music by Spike the Percussionist, costumes and site-specific dance film by Ashley Horn and lighting by Frank Vela. Expect funny and serious presentations of invented mythology and new legends, some silliness and some profound truths. And most of all, expect to get wet.

Quench runs at 8 p.m. August 22, 23, 25, 28, 29 and 30. Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 713-447-7624 or visit freneticore.net. $16 to $25.

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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Jerry Seinfeld and More

Categories: Top 5

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On his hit television series, Jerry Seinfeld was a Superman-loving, breakfast cereal-eating, hard-to-please Master of His Domain. In real life, he's probably...the same. Maybe just a little older. The beloved sitcom just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its debut (can it really be that long ago?), and Seinfeld isn't just sitting around cashing his massive, humongous royalty checks. He continues a standup career spouting his signature observational humor about quirky people and even quirkier situations and he's stopping in Houston on Friday. He also hosts his popular web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee which is...well, exactly what it sounds like.

Seinfeld admits being alone onstage armed with nothing but a mike and facing an audience he has to amuse and entertain for more than an hour isn't a cakewalk even after all his years in comedy. "I feel sweat rolling down my back for about a half hour. Droplets just going all the way down! There are nights when it's easy, and there are nights when it's not easy and you got to make it look easy," he told Scott Raab of Esquire earlier this year. Even then, Seinfeld thinks what he does isn't so hard as compared to other, say, possibly more exotic performing arts. "I saw these guys in Cirque du Soleil, these two bald-headed guys. And they balance [on] their heads. One guy balances on the other guy. And it gets only a polite round of applause. Why is that guy not the most famous guy [ever]? It's so much harder than what I do!"

Jerry Seinfeld goes into his routine at 7 p.m. Friday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 832-487-7041 or visit houstonfirsttheaters.com. $51 to $150.

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