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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — from pig feast to Mardi Gras

5 don't-miss events, from pig feast to Mardi Gras and new film fest

29th Annual Mardi Gras Ball
Parades, balcony parties, concerts by Delta Rae and Danielle Bradbery and other shenanigans are on tap for Mardi Gras Galveston. Courtesy photo
Chris Hutchison as Orlando in the Alley Theatre’s production of As You Like It
Chris Hutchison as Orlando in the Alley Theatre's production of As You Like. Photo by John Everett
Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company presents Cloud Tectonics
Patricia Duran and Greg Dean in Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company's production of Cloud Tectonics. Courtesy of Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company
Horizon Beautiful Houston African Film Festival
The first ever Houston African Film Festival opens with the film Horizon Beautiful. Courtesy photo
News_Orange Show_Eye-Opener Tour_October 2011_The_Flower_Man_Cleveland_Turner
Flower Man Day is a ceremony that celebrates Cleveland Turner's life and spirit. Photo by Jeremy Keas
29th Annual Mardi Gras Ball
Chris Hutchison as Orlando in the Alley Theatre’s production of As You Like It
Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company presents Cloud Tectonics
Horizon Beautiful Houston African Film Festival
News_Orange Show_Eye-Opener Tour_October 2011_The_Flower_Man_Cleveland_Turner

"I'm too busy." "I need more sleep." "I am stressed at work." "My boss is riding my derrière" — ugh, I've heard it all, folks.

I am here to tell you to stop your kvetching. While you complain about life's woes, cool stuff is happening all around you, the kind of stuff that would bring a smile to your face. And I am confident my suggestions for what to do this week below will do that.

Mardi Gras Galveston 2015

With the weather having been so doom and gloom you may have forgotten that one big fat party is about to take over Galveston Island. Parades, balcony parties, concerts by Delta Rae and Danielle Bradbery and a ridiculous number of other talented musicians and a myriad other shenanigans are on tap for the two-weekend revelry. Check out the schedule  here and plan head.

Just remember to keep it classy (ish). If you have to show your boobs make sure they don't end up in a meme.

The skinny: Friday through Feb. 17; participating venues in Galveston; prices vary by event.

Alley Theatre presents As You Like It

While not my favorite Shakespeare play — it's one of those convoluted scripts with way too many characters that make you go, "huh?" — Alley Theatre artistic director Gregory Boyd's take on The Bard never disappoints, particularly with comedies. You will gasp at the opulent monochromatic costumes and cackle at the contemporary allusions while falling in love with how fabulous Elizabeth Bunch, Chris Hutchinson and Todd Waite are in their respective roles.

The skinny: Now through Feb. 22; Wortham Theatre at the University of Houston; tickets start at $26.

Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company presents Cloud Tectonics

What starts as a contemporary fairy tale — perhaps what the Brothers Grimm would have penned had they lived in California and had they smoked too much weed — morphs into a really bizarre series of events that end exactly where they begun. Is time relative? Do you find pregnant women sexy? Does being in love screw around with your sense of what's real and what's imaginary?

Mildred's artistic director Jennifer Decker directs this hypnotizing work, with a cast that includes Patricia Duran, Greg Dean and Darnea Olson.

The skinny: Now through Saturday; Studio 101 at Spring Street Studios; $20 general admission $12 students, seniors and industry professionals.

Houston African Film Festival

With countless local film festivals that spotlight almost every culture imaginable, it was about time that someone brought to Houston a series that puts the second-most populous continent on the silver screen. The Houston Museum of African American Culture, in partnership with the Silicon Valley African Film Festival, to the rescue with a first-ever for Houston, a weekend of full-length features, shorts and documentaries and animated films that hail from Africa.

The curated lineup focuses on first-voice works. That is, stories told by filmmakers from Africa about their world, experiences, culture, struggles and joys — from their point of view.

The skinny: Friday through Sunday; Houston Museum of African American Culture; passes start at $25.

Flower Man Day

You couldn't help but smile in the presence of Houston's "Flower Man." Cleveland Turner's personal story of homelessness turned into creativity touched the hearts of everyone who cared to listen. And many did indeed listen. When Turner died in December 2013, he left an incredible found-art environment that was his house at 3239 Simmons St. Due to toxic mold creeping over many of the artifacts and the building, his home has to be demolished.

Flower Man Day is a ceremony that celebrates his life and spirit. Alongside remarks, activities and performances, the event includes the demolition of the property. Time to say goodbye to his earthly posessions, but not to his charisma. That will stay with us as long as we live.

The skinny: Saturday, 10 a.m.; Project Row Houses; free.

Staff writer and resident gourmand Eric Sandler's pick: Cochon 555

Eric says, "Five of Houston's most pork-obsessed chefs will be battling head to head in this culinary competition that celebrates heritage pigs, thoughtful cooking and well-crafted alcohol. Each of the chefs has been given a whole pig to turn into a maximum of six dishes to impress a panel of judges that includes both media members and their fellow chefs.

"If that isn't enough, attendees will also get to sample a tartare bar manned by Oxheart's Justin Yu (serving meat?!?), oysters, cocktails and a live butcher demonstration. These tickets aren't cheap, but they would make a great early Valentine's Day present for someone who's obsessed with food."

The skinny: Sunday, 4 p.m. (VIP) or 5 p.m.; JW Marriott downtown; $125 or $200.