weekend event planner

Here are the top 14 things to do in Houston this weekend

Here are the top 14 things to do in Houston this weekend

Top Chef judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons
Catch the premiere of Top Chef on Thursday.  Photo by Stephanie Diani/Bravo

This weekend is all about reality — TV that is — as Top Chef debuts with Houston-centric episodes and Dancing with the Stars comes to town. Speaking of stars, don't miss Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert, a screening paired with a Houston Symphony performance.

Crooner Maxwell hits H-Town and a sundae Funday is a sweet way to end the fun. Here are your best bets for your weekend.

Thursday, March 3

Official Top Chef Houston Watch Party
Guests are invited to watch the season premiere of Top Chef Houston alongside notable local chefs, who have assisted in shaping the city’s culinary community. The free public event will feature music by DJ (and co-owner of Blood Bros. BBQ) Robin Wong, and guest appearances by Houston artists David Maldonado, who created the series’ Houston logo, and GONZO247, who designed the show’s production set. 5:30 pm.

Rock Cats Rescue presents The Amazing Acro-Cats
The Amazing Acro-cats (featuring Tuna and the Rock Cats) are a troupe of rescued house cats. This two-hour "purrformance" features talented felines rolling on balls, riding skateboards, jumping through hoops, and more. The finale is the only all-cat band in the world. The current band lineup features St. Clawed on guitar, Bowie on drums, Nue on keyboard, and four new members: Ahi on woodblocks and Albacore on cowbell, Roux on trumpet, and Oz on saxophone. There's even a chicken — Cluck Norris — rockin' the tambourine. 7 pm.

Venardos Circus
This unique, Broadway-style circus, created by former Ringling Bros. ringmaster Kevin Venardos, wraps animal-free circus acts into a format dubbed “The American Circus with the heart of a Broadway Show.” Guests can expect to be transported back in time to a centuries-old tradition, but one that has been reinvented for the next generation. With an assortment of aerialists, acrobats, juggling, etc., this experience will entertain both adults and kids alike. Through Sunday, March 13. 7 pm (1, 4 and 7 pm Saturday; 1 and 4 pm Sunday).

Friday, March 4

United Way presents Women Who Rock
This fundraiser event salutes extraordinary parents in our community and empowers them to continue their education through the Women Who Rock Child Care Scholarship. This year’s keynote speaker, business and life coach Retha Nichole, will further explore this year's theme, "One Woman Can Make a Difference, Together We Can Rock the World." The scholarship underwrites child care for deserving young parents who are committed to continuing their education after completing high school. 11:30 am.

Maxwell in concert with Anthony Hamilton and Joe
Get ready for a night of three soul-singing men, hitting audiences with wall-to-wall, seductive, sexy music. First, we have headliner Maxwell, the smooth, silky singer who gave us the baby-making classic Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite over 25 years ago. As for the opening acts, veteran crooners Anthony Hamilton (who held his own alongside Musiq Soulchild during that Valentine's Day Verzuz a couple weeks back) and Joe will get things all nice and moist at the top of the show. 7 pm.

Dancing with the Stars: Live
This onstage extravaganza will feature favorite dancers from the hit ABC show, as well as special guest star Kaitlyn Bristowe. The all-new production will feature fan-favorite routines from the TV series and new numbers choreographed just for the live audiences. The show will showcase the professional dancers in a brand-new production showcasing every type of dance style, ranging from tango to foxtrot, cha-cha to waltz — and everything in between. 8 pm.

Houston Symphony presents Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert
The battle between good and evil rages on in the final chapter of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke, Leia, Han, and the whole Rebel Alliance seek to destroy the Death Star and face a final showdown with Darth Vader and the Emperor. Audiences will feel the full splendor and Force of John Williams’s incredible score — from 20th Century Fox fanfare to closing credits _ as the Houston Symphony accompanies the movie, live. 8 pm (2:30 and 8 pm Saturday; 2:30 pm Sunday).

Saturday, March 5

Back by popular demand, the biggest toy event of the year returns, and there's only one toy store that could pull it off -- Super Happy Incredible Toys! This event will be an entire weekend filled with two full days of fun, excitement, toys and beer. This all-ages event will showcase some of the best toy vendors and most talented artisans with many opportunities to purchase from both. Taps will be flowing as well, so enjoy your favorite Saint Arnold's beverage while you shop. 11 am.

Archway Gallery presents Larry Garmezy: "Stuck" opening reception
Larry Garmezy is one quirky photographer. A retired geologist, he’s spent his life as a photographer inspired -- by nature’s beauty and his unique, digital, photographic techniques -- are quite stunning. But what does a photographer do when his muse is taken away? Garmezy’s show is a unique, often playful, chronicle of a disrupted life, a deserted downtown, and how stuck we, as individuals, remain as our society ripples and shifts. Through Thursday, March 31. 5 pm.

Redbud Gallery presents Darden Smith: "Western Skies" opening reception
Redbud Gallery presents this exhibition by Austin-based artist Darden Smith. Smith’s multi-media practice spans photography, drawing, illustration, video, songs, essays, and performance. He seeks to find the humor in the mundane, the beauty in the rubble and the grace of the overlooked detail in order to translate what he sees into something new. As a songwriter, Smith is rooted in the Texas traditions, and as such, the power of story is prevalent in his works. Through Thursday, March 29. 6 pm.

Opera Leggera presents She's Like A Song - A New Orleans Style Evening of Jazz
Opera Leggera will present an intimate evening of jazz in honor of International Women's Day. Performed by Houston's jazz musicians and singers, this performance will showcase a diverse repertoire of jazz works and internationally recognized, musical compositions written about, composed by, or made famous by renowned women. Ermelinda Cuellar will pay tribute to the great women of song, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday, among others. 7 pm.

Sunday, March 6

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents "Dawoud Bey: An American Project" opening day
Photographer Dawoud Bey portrays communities and histories that have been underrepresented or even unseen. From portraits in Harlem to nocturnal landscapes, classic street photography to large-scale studio portraits, his images combine an ethical imperative with an unparalleled mastery of his medium. This exhibit spans the breadth of Bey’s career through nearly 90 works, from the 1970s to the present. Through Monday, May 30. 12:30 pm.

Sundae Funday Anniversary Party
SweetCup Gelato will be hosting a 10-year celebration party at their gelato shop on Montrose Blvd. A timed "Cone Contest" will take place at 4:30 pm and the person who can hold and eat 6 scoops on top of a cone the fastest will win 10 pints. The party will also feature limited-edition, RodeoHouston flavors. SweetCup will also be donating 10 percent of proceeds to Second Servings of Houston to support the nonprofit’s mission to fight hunger and end food waste in Houston. 3 pm.

Musica Tra Amici presents Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio #1 in B flat major D898
For this event, violinist Eric Halen and cellist Brinton Averil, two of Houston Symphony's most beloved musicians, will be performing with California-based pianist Ayke Agus. They will perform Franz Schubert's beautiful B flat major trio, considered one of the greatest gems of the trio literature, and several delectable and fun, short pieces by Franz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz, which are a particular specialty of Dr. Agus. 7 pm.