Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Opportunities for female directors have only been growing in recent years, a development that’s taken too long to happen. One of the beneficiaries of this sea change is Olivia Wilde, who made her directorial debut with 2019’s well-received Booksmart. Now she’s back with her highly-anticipated (for an assortment of reasons) sophomore film, Don’t Worry Darling.

The film stars Florence Pugh as Alice Chambers, who lives in a utopian small desert town with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles), who works for a company called Victory. The town has all the trappings of an idyllic version of the 1950s, from the style of the houses to the cars to the way the wives dote on their husbands. But right away it’s clear there’s something off about the town, especially since everyone seems to hold up the company’s leader, Frank (Chris Pine), as some kind of infallible person.

Olivia Wilde and Nick Kroll in Don't Worry Darling Olivia Wilde and Nick Kroll in Don't Worry Darling Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Alice starts to sense the cracks in town’s veneer, and gradually tests the boundaries that everyone else adheres to faithfully. Her suspicions only deepen when another wife disappears, and anyone with whom she chooses to confide gaslights her into thinking that she’s losing her mind. Trying to figure out what’s real or not drives her to do many things that threaten the whole town’s way of life.

Collaborating once again with Booksmart writer Katie Silberman, Wilde creates a mysterious and tension-filled film that is about as far away from the revelry of her previous film as you could get. There are times when the story starts to become too enigmatic for its own good, but Wilde seems to know exactly when to add on a new layer to keep viewers interested in where the story will take them next.

Wilde and Silberman also continue to explore gender politics through this well-told allegory. The actions of Alice and the other women (which include Wilde, Gemma Chan, Kiki Layne, Kate Berlant, and others) come off as Stepford Wives-ish, but they also act in ways inconsistent with people who have been brainwashed. When secrets finally start to be revealed, the story takes on a deeper meaning of male insecurity and female empowerment.

Chris Pine in Don't Worry Darling Chris Pine in Don't Worry Darling Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The behind-the-scenes technical team greatly aids in the mood of the film. The production design by Katie Byron is impeccable, and it and the desert landscape are shot extremely well by cinematographer Matthew Libatique. Especially standing out is the score by John Powell, who utilizes unconventional sounds and voices to create music that elevates every scene to which it’s attached.

Pugh has already been a star for several years, and she shows yet again why she’s held in such high esteem. She brings just the right level of angst, confusion, and anger to the evolution of her character, making her compelling throughout. Styles acquits himself well in his biggest role to date, never coming off as just a singer pretending to be an actor. Pine is also great as the creepy-but-charismatic Frank, demonstrating skills that every good cult leader needs.

Don’t Worry Darling holds a lot more than what it shows on the surface, making it a great second film for the talented Wilde. With a proven ability to jump between genres effortlessly, she should be given many more opportunities to tell stories on the big screen.


Don't Worry Darling opens in theaters on September 23.

Don't Worry Darling | Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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Here are the top 15 things to do in Houston this weekend

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

Rothko Chapel presents World AIDS Day Observance

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

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).

A.D. Players presents A Texas Carol

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

City of Pearland with Big Top Entertainment presents Blitzen's Bazaar

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.

Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Pilgrimage Home Tour

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

16th Annual McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour Holiday Experience

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.

Alley Theatre presents What-A-Christmas!

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 presents 13th Annual Trafigura Run for the House

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 presents The Great Yōkai Adventure

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.

Archway Gallery presents "Only the Forest Knows…" opening reception

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.

Reliant Lights Mayor’s Holiday Spectacular

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.

Cirque Surréaliste: The Menil Collection’s 35th Anniversary Gala

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 Avalon International Competition for Composers Concert

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.

Houston Tidelanders A Capella Christmas Show

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.

Performing Arts Houston presents The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show

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.

Landmark Rice Village art gallery hosts first-ever sale event ahead of transformation into multipurpose space

thanks for the memories

For some 40 years, much-heralded Houston art maven Ron Gremillion has been a fixture of the local scene as a buyer, gallerist, and collector. Indeed, his Gremillion and Co. Fine Art complex has become a Rice University landmark.

Seemingly, the Gremillion and Co. Fine Art compound at 2501 Sunset Blvd. would endure in its current iteration for another decade. But like much of Houston these days, an enduring local space is being reimagined.

A group of Houston investors have purchased Gremillion’s property, which was designed by acclaimed architect Jim Lass and are refreshing the gallery and annex — both totaling more than 21,000 square feet. The group has also purchased an adjacent home at 2508 Nottingham St. that dates back to around 1940, which has been gutted to make way for a catering kitchen and new guest apartments upstairs for visiting artists, chefs, and other creatives tied to support inhouse programming and private events.

The result is a new multipurpose space replete with a shaded garden and tree-shaded terrace, which will be renamed Horizon on Sunset. Plans call for debuts by February 2023.

Fans can catch a sneak peek of the new Horizon Sunset during a special Gremillion and Co. Fine Art even and sale — a first in the company’s four-decade history — beginning Saturday, December 3. The specialty sale will last one month, with some 500 of Gremillion’s mostly modern assembled works on sale from $200 t0 $200,000.

Gremillion will personally oversee the sale and consult with potential buyers, along with guest curator Elise Arnoult Miller of Houston-based Arnoult Fine Art Consulting. “Gremillion is a gallery that has supported artists and put them first, and to some degree, that’s how this vast collection was amassed – pieces never stopped coming,” Gremillion noted in a statement. “This last hurrah is an opportunity to pair beautiful works of art with buyers that will be moved by them, compensate their talented creators and make way for the next chapter in a space that has made so many memories.”

Consider this a chance to score some valuable art at bargain prices, and pay tribute to a Houston institution.


Gremillion and Co. Fine Art (2501 Sunset Blvd.) will host its first and only sale beginning Saturday, December 3. For hours and more information, visit www.gremillion.com.

Briargrove piano bar changes tune to new steak-driven supper club concept

No cap

A Houston psychiatrist will revive a beloved piano bar that closed during the middle of the pandemic. Caps Supper Club & Bar will open early next year in the former Caps Piano Bar space in Briargrove (2610 Briar Ridge Dr.).

Dr. Venkata Diddi tells CultureMap that he became interested in the restaurant business at the encouragement of his wife, who had worked in the industry before the couple had children and wanted to resume working now that they’re older. He found Caps at the suggestion of a friend who had been a regular at the intimate space, which had a following for its live music, strong drinks, and complimentary popcorn until it closed in 2021. Instead of simply reopening the bar, Diddi decided to add a restaurant aspect and turn the concept into a supper club.

Caps supper club Venkata Diddi Dr. Venkata Diddi will open Caps Supper Club next year.Photo by Fulton Davenport

Diddi literally plans to get the band back together. The same performers who graced the Caps stage for 17 years will return when the restaurant reopens. During happy hour and the early evening, a piano player will provide a more subdued form of entertainment.

Previously, Caps regulars would order food from nearby steakhouses, but Diddi has brought the food program in house. The proprietor turned to consulting chef Omar Pereney to create a menu of steakhouse fare and other comforting dishes.

A meal at Caps could start with raw dishes like oysters or steak tartare before moving on to shareables such as deviled eggs, fried calamari, or a charcuterie board. Entree choices include seafood, two pastas, a burger, and three steaks — all of which can be paired with sides such as creamed spinach mac and cheese, parmesan truffle fries, or crispy Brussels sprouts.

End the meal with one of three desserts. Beverage options include a range of cocktails as well as wines by-the-glass or bottle.

“People shouldn’t have to think hard when ordering from the menu. The dishes we will serve will only hold three or four components, but they make each other stronger,” Pereney said in a statement. “Our menu will be constantly evolving, and though there isn’t one flavor or ingredient that inspires it, seafood will be a main theme carried throughout.”

Scheduled to open in January, Caps will be open Monday - Saturday beginning at 4 pm with live music nightly. The space will seat just under 100 people and will include a private dining room.