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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — a real shark weekend included

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Shark Weekend at the Downtown Aquarium
Shark Weekend is two days of education booths, activities, demonstrations and arts and crafts that educate adults and children about these prehistoric killing machines. Courtesy photo
Happy Together 2014 Tour
"The Happy Together Tour" presents hits from '60s and '70s. Courtesy photo
Betty Buckley lecture series
Betty Buckley stars in Alley Theatre's production of Horton Foote's The Old Friends. Photo by Myriam Santos
Ars Lyrica, June 2012
Ars Lyrica's "Aristocrats at Play: Music for the Viola da Gamba" complements the exhibition Houghton Hall: The Portrait of an English County House. Photo by Joel Luks
Bridal gown sample sale Aug 2014
Dueling designer wedding gown sample sales offer brides-to-be the perfect opportunity to find the perfect look. Bridal Gown Sample Sale / Facebook
Shark Weekend at the Downtown Aquarium
Happy Together 2014 Tour
Betty Buckley lecture series
Ars Lyrica, June 2012
Bridal gown sample sale Aug 2014
Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

On tap this week is a happy concert about the untroubled disco era, a two-day festival about prehistoric killing machines, a tale about the filthy rich gone to the dark side, an intimate musicale and a bridal blowout. 

The Happy Together Tour 2014

Full regalia that included flared burgundy pleather pants, a sparkly shirt and a wig was my signature look for many nights at a '70s-themed dance club in which we would party into the wee hours of the morning. The disco grooves were irresistible, the drinks were potent and the ambiance encouraged strangers to become, shall we say, friends.

No one can argue with the carefree spirit of the era, something that you will experience at the 30th anniversary edition of "The Happy Together Tour." The concert presents hits from the Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night, Mark Farner formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, Gary Lewis and The Playboys and Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels.

The skinny: Friday, 8 p.m.; Stafford Centre; tickets start at $50.

Shark Weekend at the Downtown Aquarium

There's no such thing as a 100-foot megalodon shark. A shark was never found on Lake Ontario. Although the Discovery Channel's Shark Week was created to whet our appetites about these mysterious prehistoric killing machines — sharks have been around for more than 400 million years — some of the programs are so sensationalized that they do the opposite of what was intended when the series begun in 1988.

It's time to separate fact from fiction, folks. The Downtown Aquarium is here to help with Shark Weekend, two days of education booths, activities, demonstrations and arts and crafts that educate adults and children alike about creatures that are both fascinating and terrifying.

The skinny: Saturday and Sunday; Downtown Aquarium; admission is free but some activities require a fee.

Alley Theatre presents The Old Friends

You have to love how a New York Times critic described Horton Foote's 1960s tale as a "flashy soap opera about the filthy rich doing dirty by one another." The fully staged debut off-Broadway in 2013 was directed by Alley Theatre former associate artistic director Michael Wilson, with Betty Buckley and the playwright's daughter, Hallie Foote, cast in leading roles.

This same troupe gathers again for the Houston premiere that kicks off the company's 2014-15 season, which moves over to the University of Houston while its Brutalist home receives a well-needed makeover. 

The skinny: Runs through Sept. 7; Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre at the University of Houston; tickets start at $26.

Ars Lyrica Houston presents "Aristocrats at Play: Music for the Viola da Gamba"

Some say that the viola da gamba was the electric guitar of the 17th and 18th centuries, its place in an ensemble being hailed as an essential staple that propelled the music's emotional energy forward. The instrument's construction, however, doesn't make it suitable for large performance halls. It's best enjoyed in an intimate setting such as what you'll find in this Ars Lyrica gallery concert at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The program that includes music by John Jenkins, Carl Friedrich Abel and Marin Marais complements the exhibition  Houghton Hall: The Portrait of an English County House.

The  skinny: Sunday, 4 p.m.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Free with museum admission.

Fashion savant Clifford Pugh's pick: Designer Bridal Gown Sample Sale

Clifford says: "Bridezillas, this is your weekend! Dueling designer wedding gown sample sales offer brides-to-be the perfect opportunity to find the perfect look. Seven of the nation's leading bridal salons, including Joan Pillow Bridal Salon, are banding together to offer discount prices up to 75 percent off on gowns by such well-known designers at Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. The sale is Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the former Coldwater Creek location in Highland Village at 4050 Westheimer."

The skinny: Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Highland Village; free to attend.

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