At a loss for what to do with the fam this Memorial Day weekend? I have the answer with this week's event suggestions, which include a performance with soul, contemporary ballet, comics galore, a musical on wheels and the revival of a beast who's on a mission to hand humanity the judgment it deserves.
Dancin' in the Street . . . Motown & More Revue
Get down to the groovy rhythms of the Motown era and more with this yearly high-spirited journey to the zeitgeist of the 1960s. Chart-topping hits that became timeless classics courtesy of the Detroit-based recording studio are the focus of this Memorial Day weekend show that pays tribute to the Jackson 5 and commemorates five decades of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Why not make it a picnic? Bring a blanket, beverages and light nibbles and bask in the temperate weather that has Houstonians squealing with joy.
Houston Ballet presents "Modern Masters"
What's marvelous about Houston Ballet's mixed repertory performances is that audiences are treated to a slice of the huge pie that's the diverse world of ballet. "Modern Masters," which is billed as a melange of explosive energy, high attitude and cool sexuality, is a program that focuses on groundbreaking choreography by three influential dance makers of the last century, including George Balanchine, Jiri Kylián and William Forsythe.
The who's who of comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror, anime, gaming and related music, films and pop culture are beamed to Houston for what's considered the largest annual convention of the genre in the Southwest region. Thronged by avid fans, many of them in costume, the four-day colorful conclave, which includes a hodgepodge of panels, workshops and entertainment, welcomes such luminaries as Stan Lee (creator of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and Iron Man), Billy Dee Williams (The Empire Strikes Back), Cary Elwes (Psych), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Erin Gray (Silver Spoons, The Guild), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) and on and on and on.
Stages Repertory Theatre presents Xanadu
Don't kill me for thinking that Xanadu is an absurdly silly story. Let's get real. A fetching Greek muse (is there any other kind?) descends from the heavens to rouse an artist who's down in the dumps to reach the zenith of his creativity. That would be a roller disco, of course. Raucous pandemonium ensues when her sisters become envious of the tryst that develops between goddess and mortal. I suppose this is how things rolled in 1980s California.
Somehow there's no way you won't buy into the fantasy to become captivated by the characters' transformations. With Holland Vavra as Kira, this joyful musical on wheels presented by Stages Repertory Theatre is charming and suitable for the whole family.
Revivals film screening: Godzilla: The Japanese Original
It may be that the 2014 reimagining of Godzilla is over-dramatized with fabulous effects courtesy of 21st-century technology, but reviews of the recent remake have been mixed, with some describing the film as a downhill slide. The 1998 version with Matthew Broderick was a catastrophic disaster, although commercially successful. Regardless, everyone is talking about the savage beast that's on a quest to hand humankind the judgment it deserves.
The steep rise in the franchise's popularity is good rationale for learning about the monster of doom's 1954 origins. Newly restored for its 60th anniversary, the Realto Pictures release of Godzilla: The Japanese Original keeps its "tabloid docu-horror allure."
Staff writer and resident food nerd Eric Sandler's pick: Friends of Jodycakes Fundraising Bash
Eric says: "The Houston food community has rallied to aid popular baker Jody Stevens, who lost most of her possessions when a fire burned down her home. Sunday marks the last of a series of events designed to aid her recovery, and Stevens' friends are determined to go out with a bang.
"Head to Big Star Bar for a bake sale, silent auction, food by The Modular and Pi Pizza Truck and live music by local band Revamp. Expect a who's who of Houston's food community to show up and pay tribute to a woman who's always given to every cause. Should be a lot of fun."