weekend event planner
The holidays are in full swing this weekend, with a cherished annual tradition taking place downtown at City Hall, hosted by the one and only Gloria "I Will Survive" Gaynor.
Meanwhile, several stage shows offer holiday fun — don't miss a Whataburger-themed play, a Texas version of a Christmas Carol, plus a gospel holiday experience. And speaking of holidays and gospel, the Blind Boys of Alabama visit town for what promises to be an unforgettable seasonal concert.
Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.
Thursday, December 1
Visitors at the World AIDS Day Observance can show support and stand in solidarity with the millions of people living with and impacted by HIV. Attendees are invited to bring a small memento, photo, or item (no food or drinks) to place on a community altar in remembrance of those who have passed on, and items in celebration of those living with HIV and hope for the future to end this epidemic. Presenters include Vicar Amber Harbolt, artist Titan Capri, and DACAMERA Young Artists Jeongwon An, David Dietz, Hanna Hrybkova, and Lauren Ross. 8:30 am.
Art on the Avenue returns for its 25th anniversary, with more than 500 original artworks from over 250 local artists. The event has grown to be the city’s largest silent art auction, giving back to the thriving arts community of Houston while supporting the affordable housing and community revitalization efforts of local nonprofit organization Avenue. The exclusive, Thursday night preview event will offer art lovers a first look at this year’s exhibition, along with curated art-inspired bites and cocktails. 6 pm (10 am and 6 pm Saturday).
The whole family is on the way to Mee-Maw Jane's East Texas ranch for what might be her last Christmas. The only problem - when the first group arrives, Mee-Maw is already gone. Now, how to keep that fact (and her body) from the rest of the family and save Christmas? This hysterical and heart-warming story is about all things Christmas and all things Texas that ultimately brings us straight to the true meaning of Christmas. Through Friday, December 23. 7:30 pm (8 pm Friday; 2:30 and 8 pm Saturday; 2:30 pm Sunday).
Friday, December 2
The traditional lighting of the City of Pearland’s Christmas tree will feature H-E-B's Winter Wonderland, a gift market with Big Top Entertainment exhibitors and food trucks, holiday entertainment, light displays, and a fireworks show sponsored by University of Houston Clear Lake - Pearland. The short program will feature a visit from City Council, community leaders, Santa Claus, and Mayor Cole as they come together to light the tree and spread Christmas cheer. 9 am.
Design fans and those needing some holiday inspo can check out three beautiful homes in Houston’s iconic Tanglewood neighborhood. The biennial Houston charitable holiday tradition dates back to 1941 and showcases historic homes and elegant holiday décor. Today and Saturday, 10 am-4 pm. $20-$25
McDonald's Black & Positively Golden presents this free, nationwide concert series, featuring music from artists who are shaping the sound of contemporary gospel. Ring in the holidays at New Light Christian Church with Anthony Hamilton, Donald Lawrence, Jekalyn Carr, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Samoht, Smokie Norful, comedian NotKarltonBanks, and host Lonnie Hunter. As in previous years, the tour will celebrate McDonald’s continued devotion to Ronald McDonald House Charities. 7 pm.
Meet Margot, a 30-something Tejana who works at a beloved, whata-sized Texas burger joint. The Christmas Eve overnight shift is her personal tradition - even if that means spending the holiday dealing with grumpy drive-thru customers and an equally grumpy, robotic Santa. But when her dead best friend Jackie Marley drops by to warn her of impending late-night visits by spirits, Margot has no choice but to roll with the punches and confront the very Scrooge she’s become. Through Friday, December 23. 7 pm (2 and 7 pm Sunday).
Saturday, December 3
Ronald McDonald House Houston hosts the 13th annual race, held over at Sam Houston Park. The run is open to participants of all ages and abilities, and one hundred percent of proceeds will directly benefit Ronald McDonald House Houston, a loving home away from home for families with seriously ill children being treated in the Texas Medical Center. Every dollar raised up to $185,000 will be generously matched by the Trafigura Foundation. 8 am.
Asia Society Texas will be hooking families up with a good ol’ adventure this weekend. Participants will embark on a series of quests involving mysterious spirits from Japanese folklore. Visitors can explore the exhibition "Yōkai: Scenes of the Supernatural in Japanese Woodblock Prints," create their own art, see yōkai-themed films, and earn a trading card for each quest completed. Guests who collect enough cards will earn a prize. Costumes are encouraged. This event is ideal for ages 6 and up. 11 am.
This collaborative effort combines Andrea Wilkinson’s exquisite sculptural portraits of wild animals with Christie Coker’s textural paintings which are evocative of the environs in which these animals live. For this show, Wilkinson has created sculptures inspired by the wild animals that live among us, for animals are highly adaptive in sharing our forested neighborhoods and yards, while Coker’s artwork is inspired by the beauty found in nature’s offerings. Through Thursday, January 5. 5 pm.
Plan to arrive early at Hermann Square at City Hall for the free, beloved holiday event hosted this year by disco/"I Will Survive" legend Gloria Gaynor. Expect live music and dance performances, the lighting of the holiday tree, free photos with Santa in his North Pole-themed booth, dance and music and other festive activities for all ages. Free blinking Santa hats will be dispersed to all attendees, (while supplies last), with food samples and seasonal bites and beverages for sale. 6 pm-8 pm. Free.
This special event - occurring only once every five years - draws inspiration from the museum’s world-renowned collection of surrealist art. With the theme of a 20th-century circus, the party’s theme and décor is inspired by Alexander Calder’s Two Acrobats, Fernand Léger’s Julie, The Beautiful Cyclist, and Study for the Grand Parade. This year’s gala also marks the Menil’s 35th anniversary, celebrating Dominique and John de Menil’s distinctive and inclusive vision to make art accessible to all, bringing together supporters of the museum, the arts, and the city. 7 pm.
Sunday, December 4
Foundation for Modern Music presents this annual competition, which celebrates new, exciting, and original contemporary music rooted in the classical tradition by both young and more-established composers. The competition concert showcases the quality of Houston performing artists and ensembles who relish the challenge of learning and presenting works of great difficulty. Through the competition, the Foundation honors its late artistic director, Robert Avalon, who helped develop and initiate several important new projects - including this competition. 3:30 pm.
The Houston Tidelanders are an a capella group with a 75-year history in Houston. This show will feature them singing versions of popular holiday music, both secular and religious. There will be renditions of songs like "Joy to the World," "Little Saint Nick," "Mary Did You Know," "Baby’s First Christmas Lullaby," and "Gesu Bambino," which is a new song that was arranged specifically for the Tidelanders. The quartet S.L.E.D. will also be performing. 6 pm.
The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. Celebrated by The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences with lifetime achievement awards, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and winners of five Grammys, they have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans over 70 years. The living legends of gospel will share the spirit of the season, featuring Houston's Sarah Grace and The Soul. 6:30 pm.