August is a time when things generally slow down, but this weekend offers a furious pace of star-watching for locals. First, Hollywood nice guy Sebastian Stan stops by Houston to meet fans who'll miss out on his canceled convention appearance. Or, for sports nuts, a dizzying, who's-who list of local and national superstars will shake hands and sign autographs.
If celeb stalking isn't your thing, look for fun screenings, art shows, sumptuous dinners, and a lively festival. Whatever your plans, your stars are aligned for a good time this weekend.
Thursday, August 9
Meet fan-friendly star Sebastian Stan
Actor Sebastian Stan, who's mostly known these days as super-soldier Bucky from the Captain America movies, was scheduled to be a part of the comics convention Fandemic, which will be happening this September. Unfortunately, he will be in the middle of shooting three movies simultaneously. Thankfully, he will be making a early, one-day stop this week, which will start really early with a "Coffee with Sebastian Meet and Greet" and lead into the usual autograph/photo-op stuff. All the people who have already paid VIP passes, three-day tickets, and single-day passes for Fandemic can show up for no extra charge. 9 am-5 pm.
Celebrate Root Beer Float Day
You wanna know a dessert that doesn't get a lot of lip service these days? Root beer floats. It's two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a glass/mug/whatever and, then, you pour some root beer on it. All you do is stick in a straw and — boom! — that's it. To celebrate the 35th-anniversary partnership between Marriott International and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Westin Houston Memorial City will throw a Root Beer Float Day fundraiser. 10 am-5 pm.
Friday, August 10
Altuve, Springer and more superstars at the Summer 2018 Fan Expo
All we have to do is list some of the names at the three-day, GT Sports Marketing Autograph Experience and Sports Card Houston Summer 2018 Fan Expo, and we're certain sports fans will line up. Expect World Series champs Houston Astros, including AL MVP Jose Altuve, World Series MVP George Springer, and Carlos Correa. There will also be other Astros around, like Gerrit Cole, Alex Bregman, and Evan Gattis. Look for Houston Texans DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson, along with Bo Jackson, Jerry Rice, Andre Ware, Ronnie Lott, Desmond Howard, Dwight "Doc" Gooden — seriously, do we even need to go on? 5-9 pm (9 am-4 pm Saturday; 10:30 am-5 pm Sunday).
The Backyard Jams Concert Series' last jam of the season
Since starting last April, the bi-monthly Backyard Jams Concert Series, launched by the Houston Downtown Management District, has been a pleasant (and pleasantly free) way to enjoy Texas-based live music in the open air. Since fall is upon us, the series will wrap up for the year with a set from The Wheel Workers, a four-piece outfit who, according to their Bandcamp page, is "an indie-rock band from Houston, TX with progressive values." As usual, there will be giveaways and lawn games, along with food, beer, and wine available for purchase at Niko Niko's. 7-9 pm.
Celebrate the music and legacy of local jazz great Arnett Cobb
Known as the "Wild Man of the Tenor Sax," Arnett Cobb is a local jazz legend. And even though he passed away in 1989 at age 70, many jazz-loving Houstonians still celebrate his birthday. And since he would've been 100 this year, the Jazz Church of Houston will be having a blowout birthday party. Hosted by artist Tierney Malone, the evening will have surprise guests telling stories about their experiences with the fiery jazzman. Cobb's music will also be played by Houston Jazz Collective, along with special guests Shelley Carrol on tenor sax and Andre Hayward on trombone. 7-10 pm.
"In Pizza We Crust" is a tasty art show
Okay, Houston isn't necessarily known for being a town full of delicious pizza spots. It seems there are a lot of local artists who crave good pizza to the point where they have made pizza-inspired art. And now, there's a show where these pies-on-the-brain people can show off their creations, and it's cleverly titled "In Pizza We Crust." Not only will there be these pizza pieces, but spectators can also gorge on free pizza slices and wash it down with free beer. Let's hope this show has some great pizza on deck. 7-11 pm.
Saturday, August 11
Houston Black Heritage Music & Arts Fest celebrates diversity
Now in its fourth year, the Houston Black Heritage Music & Arts Festival continues to shine a light on the African-American cultural experience, promoting diversity and sensitivity and also bringing in performers, art, guest speakers, exhibits, and more. In the span of two days, the fest will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Hall A3, on Saturday and Kingdom Builders Center on Sunday. The two big draws for this year's festivities will be five-time Grammy-winning singer (and daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway) Lalah Hathaway, and Stokely Williams, lead singer of the R & B group Mint Condition. Noon-9 pm (4-8 pm Sunday).
Feast at the Houston Chef Series Finale Dinner
Just the description of what'll be served at the tremendous, final dinner of the eighth-annual Houston Chef Series — dubbed "a Louisiana culinary adventure"— is enough to make you ravenous. This evening of passed appetizers, hand-crafted cocktails and live music will feature an eight-course menu created by 11 of the Signature Group executive chefs who were tasked to come up with some delightful, Cajun/Creole-flavored dishes, like smoked venison medallion, boudin noir, Creole spiced pork belly, and forbidden rice jambalaya. So, is your mouth watering yet? 6 pm.
Cutting-edge artists shine at BOX 13 ArtSpace
BOX 13 ArtSpace has several exhibitions that will be starting up this weekend. First off, in loose teeth tight bras, Dana Suleymanova and Macaulie Gabe address patriarchal systems still prevalent in contemporary society. Next, we have Ashley Whitt exploring order and chaos in the photo exhibit There's No Way Out: Selected Works from an Ordered Chaos. Richard Wright's memoir Black Boy inspired Stephen Wilson's Cheat Codes exhibit. Finally, Amanda Rushell Wallace reimagines the psychological landscapes shaped by racism, sexism, and classism with How to preserve dead flowers. All exhibitions will run through October 6. 7-9pm.
Sunday, August 12
Celebrate Selena at a special screening
Selena is a 1997 biopic that basically showed audiences what we lost when the budding, Tejano-pop star was unfortunately gunned down by a former, disturbed employee back in 1995. Of course, this is the movie that also put a young actress/dancer/future pop star named Jennifer Lopez on the map. She gives an endearing portrayal of the singer, as the movie chronicles her ascent from fresh-faced, aspiring singer to Grammy-winning, ready-to-hit-the-mainstream dance diva. Houston Chronicle music critic Joey Guerra will introduce the movie, with a performance by Selena tribute artist Amanda Solis. 7 pm.
HBO's Insecure watch parties
If you haven't been watching Insecure, the down-and-dirty HBO dramedy starring Issa Rae (who also co-created the show) as a single sista living the single life in LA, you're missing out on one of the best (and most heavily discussed on social media) shows on TV. As the show begins its third season, there will be two spots that'll air the season premiere. Over at Brasil Cafe, there will be a watch party complete with a soundtrack by video DJ Sly Foxx. 8-11 pm. Meanwhile, at the Pop-Up Place, a backyard party will offer several life-size interactive games, bean bags, gourmet popcorn, and other things to preoccupy you before the show starts. 7:30-11:30 pm.