Photo by Jacob Power

A sense of déjà vu has descended all across concert venues in Houston and the culprit is omicron.

The fast-moving strain of the COVID-19 virus has been wreaking havoc on the live music scene, leading to a handful of cancellations. It was likely the cause behind the postponement of the much anticipated New Year's Eve homecoming show for Houston-based world-beaters, Khruangbin, at the 713 Music Hall.

The seemingly exponential rise in cases leaves any early-2022 show a crapshoot, raising concerns over future concerts whether it's due to staffing issues or bands rescheduling shows out of an abundance of caution.

That leaves it up to ticketholders to check the latest status of gigs, not only to make sure they are still a go, but whether COVID safety measures are in place at the venues. In other words, have those vaccination cards and 72-hour COVID test results handy before heading out.

Hopefully, the following January shows will still happen as we have a full slate ahead. CultureMap's best shows of the month are as follows:

Clay Melton
Thursday, January 6
The Big Barn at Dosey Doe

Equally influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Mayer, Houston-based Clay Melton is establishing himself as one of the hottest blues-rock acts in the Lone Star State. Simply put, the talented young guitarist-vocalist can shred and is an extremely fun watch, backed by a rock-solid unit in his longtime drummer, Zach Grindle, and bassist Zach Cox.

He’ll be recording a live album from the unique confines of The Big Barn at Dosey Doe in Spring alongside a who’s-who in the local music scene, including Sir Earl Toon of Kool & the Gang, Evelyn Rubio, and Sarah Grace. That follows the well-received 2021 EP, Back to Blue.

Tickets start at $15 plus fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

CultureMap Local Show of the Month: BowiElvis Festival
Saturday, January 8
The Continental Club and Big Top Lounge

January 8 holds a special place in the hearts of music fans across the globe as the day produced two of the greatest pop icons in modern musical history: David Bowie and Elvis Presley. Those two cultural forces will meet at the return of BowiElvis Festival.

The 13th edition is back after a one-year hiatus and will feature a number of acts celebrating the late-singers, including Graveltooth, Johnny Falstaff, India Tigers in Texas, Sara Van Buskirk, Elise Morrison, Yaupon, and a burlesque performance by Dem Damn Dames.

Bands will play Bowie and Elvis cover songs in addition to original tunes, and guests can participate in face painting and a costume contest alongside catering that features "The King" — Elvis's favorite banana and peanut butter sandwich and "The Bowie," a croque madame with Gruyère, ham, and a fried egg.

Tickets start at $20 plus fees in advance, $35 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m.

CultureMap Recommends: TWRP with Rich Aucoin
Sunday, January 9
White Oak Music Hall (Upstairs)

Hailing from the frosty hinterlands of Canada, fans of high-energy weirdness are in for a real treat when TWRP (formerly Tupperware Remix Party) and Rich Aucoin take over White Oak Music Hall. Both hail from the creative Halifax, Nova Scotia scene and are getting huge accolades not only for their synth-driven indie sounds, but their insane live performances. TWRP's concert gear recalls Power Rangers mixed with Devo, Daft Punk, and manga comic books.

The secret weapon on this bill is Aucoin, a genius-level multi-instrumentalist whose exuberant intellect is expressed in award-winning videos and movie-synched live shows that include actual surfing on crowds and crazy-fun dance parties underneath a elementary school parachute. His latest album, United States, is a amazing listen as well, an ultimately uplifting treatise on modern America. This show is sold out but is worth every penny on the resale market.

Tickets are sold out but there is a waitlist. Doors open at 8 pm.

Washed Out
Thursday, January 13
Warehouse Live

One of the leaders of the late-2000s chillwave movement alongside luminaries such as Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, Small Black and others, Ernest Greene’s Washed Out project is a vibe unto itself.

Combining dream pop with ’80s synths and gentle vocals, Washed Out first garnered major notice with his 2009 EP Life of Leisure, lead single “Feel It All Around” becoming the title credits song for the hit comedy show, Portlandia.

The song is seemingly now ensconced on the playlist at any and every upscale eatery. His latest is 2020’s Paracosm.

Tickets start at $25 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly with The Isley Brothers and LeVelle
Saturday, January 15
Toyota Center

Classic soul and funk gets a major spotlight with a Toyota Center bill that includes Maze, led by Frankie Beverly. Originally from Philadelphia, Maze first made waves when they hooked up with Marvin Gaye in the '70s, scoring hit songs such as "Joy and Pain," "Before I Let Go," and "Happy Feelin's" [sic].

They'll be joined by the timeless, former Motown act, The Isley Brothers, who are instantly recognizable with the hits "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)," "Shout," and "Twist and Shout," famously covered by The Beatles.

Tickets start at $69.50 plus fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

CultureMap Show of the Month: Sir Elton John
Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22
Toyota Center

The last time Sir Elton John rolled through town with his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road tour to perform to a sold-out Toyota Center crowd, it was under the guise of being his last tour before setting off into the sunset. That show included a roll-call of greatest hits that would be a wonderful bookend to a storied career (read the CultureMap review here).

But alas, the icon had second thoughts and is back for a two-show encore, perhaps bolstered by the fantastic hit Dua Lipa/PNAU collaboration, "Cold Heart," that resulted in John's biggest hit song in years, reaching No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 11 in the U.S.

Expect a look back on his biggest hits, a stellar live band, and eye-popping visuals — for John fans, or music fans in general, this show is a must-see.

Tickets start at $69.50 plus fees. Doors open at 7 pm.

Shawn Colvin
Friday, January 21
Heights Theater

We were set to recommend the Lucinda Williams concert at Heights Theater this month but that one is sold out. For those looking for a fantastic singer-songwriter, Shawn Colvin will also appear in the intimate venue.

Colvin got her start in the Midwest and quickly garnered attention when she joined the famed Greenwich Village folk circuit in New York. A tour with Susanne Vega led to a recording contract and since then, she became a fixture at the Lilith Fair tours and racked up three Grammy Award wins, including two for her hit song, "Sunny Came Home," which picked up Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Her latest is The Starlighter, a collection inspired by the children's music book, Lullabies and Night Songs.

Tickets start at $28 plus fees. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The War on Drugs with Lo Moon
White Oak Music Hall (Lawn)

Finding that sweet spot between Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan juxtaposed with layered indie guitars, The War on Drugs developed a distinctly American rock sound that recalls vast landscapes and gritty stories of the everyman, set to a sonic palette made for today's audiences.

Led by Adam Granduciel, the band initially started after he struck up a friendship with psych-rocker Kurt Vile. But it wasn't until Vile departed that the band truly took off with 2014's Lost in the Dream achieving modern classic status and catapulting the act to festival headliners.

The 2017 release A Deeper Understanding and last year's I Don't Live Here Anymore were critical smashes, solidifying The War on Drugs as a touring force.

Tickets start at $46 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.

Cat Power
Thursday, January 27
House of Blues

Cat Power's Chan Marshall has had a strange career. Starting off as an unassuming indie darling most noteworthy for the excellent 1998 full-length Moon Pix, the demands of the road proved at times too much for the Atlanta-based singer-songwriter. Show performances were erratic and oftentimes awkward with her deeply personal lyrics at odds with rowdy crowds.

Thankfully, with her social anxiety issues behind her, Marshall has gained new confidence not only as a frontwoman but also as a recording artist, producing excellent albums over the last decade and touring with the likes of Alanis Morissette. She'll be releasing a covers album this year.

Tickets start at $35 plus fees. Show starts at 7 pm.

The legendary Elton John is back at the Toyota Center on Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22.

Elton John - Houston Toyota Center - Farewell Yellow Brick
Photo by Jacob Power
The legendary Elton John is back at the Toyota Center on Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22.
Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com

13 bold predictions for RodeoHouston's biggest concerts of 2022

Live Music Now

RodeoHouston is finally coming back and CultureMap is guessing who will be performing.

The entertainment centerpiece to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo season announced which music genres will be featured throughout the 2022 season on Thursday. It will mark nearly two years after COVID-19 forced officials to cancel half the 2020 event and cancel the 2021 event altogether.

Thankfully, the biggest annual music gathering in Texas will make its much-anticipated return on Monday, February 28 with East Texas native Cody Johnson previously announced as the opening act. Three weeks of nightly concerts will culminate with the return of country icon George Strait, closing out RodeoHouston festivities with special guest Ashley McBryde on Sunday, March 20. That follows his record-setting performance in 2019 that drew over 80,000 fans to NRG Stadium.

In addition, two other Texas artists have been revealed: Trill City icon Bun B will bring in a star-studded hip-hop line-up with his H-Town Takeover on Friday, March 11. Conroe native Parker McCollum performs on Saturday, March 12.

That leaves 17 slots to be filled, set to be announced on January 5 at a special entertainer reveal ceremony. Once again, country music will take the lion’s share of performances on 13 of the 20 nights. Organizers have always attracted the biggest, best, and buzziest upcoming country acts to the Stars Over Texas stage, so expect a massive roster with some major home runs.

Other genres featured this year include the first ever Christian act on Thursday, March 3; Latin pop on Friday, March 5; norteño on Sunday, March 7; rock on Thursday, March 10; pop on Tuesday, March 15; R&B/pop on Wednesday, March 16; and the return of the now established EDM genre on Friday, March 18, perfectly placed during spring break for most Houston area students.

“The 2022 RodeoHouston lineup has something for everyone, and that’s important to us, as we are always hoping to draw newcomers to our event, and hopefully, create new lifelong Rodeo fans,” said Chris Boleman, rodeo president and CEO in a press release.

Individual RodeoHouston tickets will go on sale to the public Thursday, Jan. 13 at rodeohouston.com. Ticket prices start at $20, plus a $4 convenience fee. Visit the RodeoHouston website for a full rundown of the genre calendar.

Who else will make an appearance on the star-shaped stage set in the dirt and dust of NRG Stadium? CultureMap's predictions for who will show up on the famed star-shaped stage at include the following:

Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton
When it comes to programming this year’s country acts, it’s a matter of following the K.I.S.S principle — Keep It Simple Stupid. All five artists listed were set to play RodeoHouston before it tragically went dark due to city-wide lockdown measures.

Kane Brown, set to make his second headlining appearance, was especially hard – the performer was only hours away from taking the stage. The other gentlemen are as common to RodeoHouston as fried food is to the midway with over 30 appearances between them. Chances are these award-winning artists will be back again in 2022.

Kasey Musgraves
The award-winning country-pop starlet absolutely nailed her first appearance at RodeoHouston, opening the 2019 slate. Her profile is even brighter since that performance, recently playing Saturday Night Live, and heading up festivals since the release of the critically acclaimed album, Star-Crossed. Don’t be surprised if she’s back.

Reba McEntire
Sure, she hasn’t put out a massive selling album in years, but make no mistake, people love them some Reba. The country legend has a long string of No. 1 hit songs and she’s remained a pop culture force with TV shows, movies, awards-show hosting duties, even a spin as Colonel Sanders in a KFC ad campaign.

She’s currently playing a Las Vegas residency with fellow legends, Brooks & Dunn, which has seen thousands travel to see her. Also, an appearance at the 2022 edition would be her 20th RodeoHouston performance, something to celebrate.

Lizzo or Megan Thee Stallion
One of the biggest regrets of the COVID-addled early closure to the 2020 season was not seeing a Houston-raised Lizzo at the absolute height of her powers strut her “Good As Hell” moves. When CultureMap asked Jason Kane, RodeoHouston manager of entertainment and concert production whether they’d bring back the Grammy award winner, he said it would be a priority.

“I think we can safely say that we’re going to do everything we can to make sure Lizzo gets to play her hometown,” Kane said.

If Lizzo isn’t available or if her star has dimmed too much since 2020 (it hasn’t), we predict Megan Thee Stallion will get the nod. The fellow-Houstonian is currently one of the hottest stars in the world right now and fellow “W.A.P.” co-star Cardi B proved that a heavily censored, buttoned-up show is possible while still retaining a high-level of fun.

Gwen Stefani
This s**t is bananas. The No Doubt singer and huge solo act in her own right was another victim of COVID’s fallout in 2020. It would make complete sense to bring her back. Additionally, she’s now married to Blake Shelton, who is known to show up to her shows for duets. Who wouldn’t want to see that happen?

Bad Bunny or J. Balvin
Over the last half-decade, RodeoHouston officials kept their finger on the pulse of what is popular with listening audiences. Bad Bunny was the most streamed star in 2021 with over 9.1 billion streams on Spotify, up from 8.3 billion in 2022.

Booking the Puerto Rican star would be a slam dunk and an instant sell-out among the legions of fans in the Greater Houston region. If Bunny is too pricey, Colombian artist J. Balvin would be more than worthy to fill the Latin Pop night slot.

Dolly Parton
This likely won’t happen, but one can dream. Every season RodeoHouston is good for a few longtime country faves. And every year, we call for concert organizers to hear our collective calls to bring Dolly Parton to Houston so we can regale her with our adoration.

Outside of her saintly charitable efforts, Parton is one of the most popular country artists of all time with a songbook to rival anyone. The singalongs to “Jolene,” “9 to 5,” and “I Will Always Love You,” and “Coat of Many Colors” would be major highlight of the 2022 season. Make this happen, RodeoHouston!

George Strait follows-up a record-breaking 2019 RodeoHouston show by closing out the 2022 edition on March 20.

RodeoHouston,George Strait concert, March 2013
Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
George Strait follows-up a record-breaking 2019 RodeoHouston show by closing out the 2022 edition on March 20.
Emily Jaschke

Pioneering Houston DJ Disko Cowboy spins a new adventure in Tulsa

On the Road Again

A Houston cultural touchstone is trading Bayou City humidity for wide-open Oklahoma skies.

DJ David Wrangler — aka Disko Cowboy — is the recipient of a grant from the Tulsa Remote program, designed to draw the brightest minds in innovation and culture to the fast-growing city in the Sooner state.

Funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Tulsa Remote program brings "remote workers and digital nomads to the community by providing $10,000 grants and numerous community-building opportunities." It's goal is to bring in 250 new residents that are full-time remote employees or self-employed outside of Oklahoma to live in Tulsa for at least a year.

The program also provides help with housing, and Wrangler will be relocate to a loft space in a converted YMCA basketball court in downtown Tulsa. He expects to bring his unique vision to the city and hopes to play shows when health restrictions are lifted.

He also has plans for a potential cannabis start-up in a state with more lax laws around the use of marijuana than in Texas.

"I’m excited to bring a Texas honky-tonk spin on what’s happening there," Wrangler says, citing Tulsa's central location as a convenient place to travel from to cities on the East and West Coast. "Hopefully, something happens in the music industry in Tulsa while I’m there and can have some sort of influence. I think it’s a good time to take a chance.”

A DJ and producer for 20 years, Wrangler grew up in the Texas Hill Country to a musical family, later finding his way into the nightclubs of Austin and San Antonio. It's in the Alamo City that he learned to DJ at some of its most-well known venues. His music taste varied from EDM, industrial, and hip-hop, but he always found love for old school country music.

After learning the ropes behind the decks, Wrangler moved to Houston, where he quickly made a name for himself, playing in various hot spots throughout the city, including having a part in launching the live music spot, Goodnight Charlie's.

"I used to watch MTV and I would do remixes of songs in my head while they were playing in real time and I didn’t know what that was," Wrangler said about his youth. "I was a big hip-hop head in the '90s and once I figured out you could make your own music and play it for people, that's when I got into the idea of doing it."

A Bayou City resident since 2007, the eccentric performer and entrepreneur built his Vinyl Ranch production and merchandise brand around retro country and western designs meshed with late-'70s disco, complete with neon rhinestone glitz, clever and campy fashion throwbacks, and a musical palette steeped in the classics from Patsy Cline to Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakum.

As much as his image draws from famed honky-tonk Gilley's in Urban Cowboy, he also takes cues from another Travolta touchstone, Saturday Night Fever. It's an aesthetic aped by recent neo-country acts like Midland and Orville Peck.

"Lots of people don’t realize that Vinyl Ranch is a hip-hop project about country," Wrangler explains. "That’s kind of been the dirty little secret — I’ve been a remix producer forever and that’s what I’ve always done but this is just my remix expression, it’s country music through the lens of hip-hop remix culture."

Wrangler tapped into the early marketing opportunities with a relatively young social media platform, Instagram. Since then, the urban cowboy and disco nightlife brand opened doors for DJ bookings and collaborations. He's worked with global brands such as Wrangler (natch), Vice, Lucchese, Tom Ford, Chanel, Sony, and Microsoft, in addition to playing shows during Super Bowl festivities, at CMA Fest, South By Southwest, Sundance Film Fest, Luck Reunion, and even George Strait's house.

"The Instagram era was when I really started to market it outside of Houston and push this idea of the modern urban cowboy," Wrangler says. "I’ve had a lot of success with that and now there are a lot of people that have stepped into my lane as of late. I basically waited for pop culture to catch up to what I was doing and now it’s come full circle.”

When COVID-19 nixed all events and work plans on his calendar, including showcases at Coachella and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Wrangler took to Instagram Live for daily Wake and Bake DJ sessions every morning, drawing a devoted audience.

The lull in in-person gigs and work in general made it a good time for him to make a change in his surroundings. He leaves for Tulsa at the end of the month to pursue his latest adventure north of the Texas border.

Wrangler says he will miss the city and all the opportunities it gave him; its imprint will live on in his work.

"There have been so many versions of myself that have been born and died in Houston that each chapter has been special," he says. "The people I've met here, no matter how long they've stuck around, have been special. Houston has played the biggest part in the Vinyl Ranch story and Vinyl Ranch will always be Houston no matter where I go."

Houston DJ Disko Cowboy is the recipient of the Tulsa Remote grant.

Emily Jaschke
Houston DJ Disko Cowboy is the recipient of the Tulsa Remote grant.
Photo courtesy of The Suffers

Houston musicians share their essential songs to play at home

Quarantine Playlist

Need a little sound to get you moving?

Music venues are still shuttered across the city while many local artists are finding creative ways to perform and share content with fans. Many are hosting onlineshows with the ever present Venmo handles and merch websites (bands gotta eat!). Others are using this time to work on new music.

While we don't know when live music will return to the Bayou City, no doubt that first show back after stay at home orders lift will be absolute fire.

Until then, we had so many Houston acts send in their top five songs to listen to during quarantine that CultureMap has compiled Part II of our quarantine playlist. Put it on during that Zoom chat happy hours with friends, while cooking dinner, or working from your dining room table. Enjoy and wash those hands!

The Suffers
Website: thesuffers.com

Paw Patrol: "Paw Patrol Theme Song" (Jose "Chapy" Luna, percussion) - This is my daughter's favorite song right now. Everything goes away when this song comes on. Singing out loud and dancing along to your favorite kids jams is something I hope every parent is doing during these times.

Caloncho: "Brilo Mio" (Michael Razo, trumpet) - My wife has been playing this song non-stop and it jams! It’s basically about being in love and doing anything for that person. Since we have been “hunkered down” in the house, I feel like we’re making up for lost time from the demands of being on tour, and it’s made our relationship even stronger.

The Police: "Message In A Bottle" (Kevin Bernier, guitar) - You can think of the bottle as a metaphor for our connections through social media - a way to communicate what we know and how we are feeling, and as a way of looking out for each other. Not only is it a great song from one of my very favorite bands ever, but it's one that is ultimately uplifting.

Ariel & Sean: “Honey” (John Durbin, trumpet) - Reminds me of when the sun starts to peek out behind the clouds then emerges fully. It’s light, refreshing, and has that uplifting vibe that makes you want to dance around your house while smiling!

The Wood Brothers: "Atlas" Juliet Terrill, bass) - It’s fun, it’s upbeat, and it reminds me to put my own oxygen mask on first before I try to go around saving everyone else!

Issac Hayes: "(They Long to Be) Close to You" (Kam Franklin, vocals) - I’m pretty sure this song helped me calm the hell down during this time. I slept on his Black Moses album. It’s magical. Pure magic. I’ve listened to it 3 times this week. Between him and Parliament, I’m in heaven right now. This song though, it’s slow as hell, black as hell, and vibey as hell.

George Benson: "Affirmation" (Nick Zamora, drums) - I used to fly a couple times a week for work and I saved this one for those flights where I was somehow sandwiched between the two guys even bigger than me on the plane. If your urge to kill is rising, this will lower it considerably. Jorge Dalto’s clavinet solo on it is rad.

The Suffers: "Better" - This is a song about second, third, and fourth chances. We’re all going through a roller coaster of anxiety right now, but whenever we perform this, we are reminded that we’re all in this together.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: We are currently in the middle of working on our third album. Creating in times like this is a bit bonkers, but we are making it work. Our tours have all been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but we’ll be back on the road as soon as we are allowed to make it work.

Jess Howard and Richie Alejandro, Mind Shrine
Website: linktr.ee/mindshrine

Mind Shrine: "5 Long Days" - It was our first time out of state as a band to finish some songs off of our recent EP. We had planned on working with an artist who offered to mix our songs and let us crash at his place [in Los Angeles]. The day of the departure he ghosted us without any explanation, we arrived at LAX, with literally no place to stay and from there, the inspiration came about.

Bobby Oroza: "Falling in Love" - This song has wonderful tones that we wish to replicate one day. It's a song to enjoy a sunny day.

Stevie Wonder: "For Once in My Life" - The vocals and harmonica solo in this song is at an all time high and shows the level of professionalism Stevie had at such a young age.

Video Age: "No Tomorrow" - '80s sounding pop with infectious leads, lyrics are strong on this one.

TOPS: "I Feel Alive" - This song has wonderful melodies and a chorus that sticks in your head all day. Short and sweet.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: New music video coming out for our new single, "5 Long Days." Next show is TBA, opening up for Glass Animals from the UK with two dates at The Aztec Theater in San Antonio.

Clay Melton
Website: claymelton.com

Stevie Wonder: "Sir Duke” - I’ve always loved this tune and have turned to it many times before and lately to keep things positive. Also, I feel the message that music is something people all over the world connect to is something that is really prevalent and being shown to us during these times.

The Vaughan Brothers: "Tick Tock" - It's so positive. It’s a straight ahead pop tune, which is a different side of SRV [Stevie Ray Vaughan] or Jimmie Vaughan. The message is simple and uplifting, written about a dream one night where people started being kinder and helping one another.

Pinegrove: “Neighbor” - I’m a huge fan of this band. This specific song to me speaks of being kind to others and all life around you even if you don’t understand or agree with their actions always; and I think that we could all use a little bit of that mindset right now.

Stevie Ray Vaughan: "Riviera Paradise" - I’m going to double up on SRV picks. “Riviera Paradise” is simply a masterpiece to my ears, a calming tune that you can get lost in. It’s one of those songs to close your eyes and melt away with, providing some much needed comfort and meditation during these unpredictable times.

Clay Melton: “Rain" - I wrote this song five years ago, and it appears on our 2017 album, Burn the Ships. Listening today, I feel like the message of “Go away right now/I’m not who you’re looking for” says to me, “We can get through this, but all we can do right now is stay home when possible, enjoy your alone or family time and wait for this storm of a virus to pass.”

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: With the recent cancellation of every gig and gathering in the universe, I’m currently working my second full length record. We have exciting news to announce regarding studio collaboration and plans for release and tour later this year!

Website: instagram.com/Goodgirl.tx

Fugees: "Killing Me Softly" (Gisselle Lizama, bass) - I love this song because its a throw back. The break down is amazing, and it definitely takes my mind to simpler times.

True Widow: “Four Teeth” (Nate Dietrich, guitar) - True Widow is a band that consistently sounds unique in their own brand of melancholy. I feel that this song sets an appropriate backdrop for the current climate.

Broncho: "Boys Got to Go” (Justin Martinez, drums) - My favorite tune lately because ya boy’s got to go back to work.

Air: "Empty House" (Valentina Daboin, vocals) - If you know, you know.

Goodgirl: “Purposeless” - Heavy tones, droning melody and chaotic lyrical content seem to express a lot of our inner monologues right now.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: No shows yet on the horizon, but we are working on a single from our respective isolation. This will be a dreamier bedroom style single and will be released in the coming months.

Trent Lira and Devin Will, Space Kiddettes
Website: spacekiddettes.com

Perfume Genius: "Describe" (Trent's pick) - I’m always excited for what Perfume Genius is going to do next. He’s definitely up there for my all time faves and given all the singles so far this year I’m highly anticipating his upcoming full length release. This track is fresh and bold while also calling back to a bit of '90s alternative with a harrowing lead vocal. He’s perfection!

White Zombie: "El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blast-O-Rama" (Trent's pick) - I listen to Rob Zombie (or Rob Zombie adjacent content) at least once a day but lately this is the track that has been taking me there, you know? I listen to new singles and new music every week but sometimes, especially in times of distress, you really lean on those old faithfuls to keep me grounded.

Father John Misty: "I Love You, Honeybear" (Devin's pick) - It’s got this bittersweet feeling, like everything is falling apart, but the two characters in the song are grounded and comforted by their love for each other.

Orville Peck: "Winds Change" (Devin's Pick) - Orville Peck’s music has got this driving rhythm to it, and his baritone sounds so triumphant at times. It makes me want to see things through to the end.

LIZ: Cloudbusting (Maor Levi Remix) (SK Mutual Pick) - This already iconic cover got even better with this 2000s DJ Sammy spin on it! We recently asked LIZ personally why she chose to cover the song on her latest album and why she made it the opening track. She said she loved the story Kate Bush told with the song and that she related to it in such a deep way that she felt it would help introduce the world to what she was trying to create on the album and we couldn’t agree more!

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: We have livestream content weekly on our Instagram. LiveSpace on Mondays at 7 pm and Blood, Sweat & Tears on Thursdays at 7 pm. Our podcast, Space Case, has new episodes every Tuesday and our web series, Domestic Adventures: The Series, has new episodes the last Friday of the month on IGTV and YouTube.

Teresa Vicinanza, Tee Vee
Website: teevee.bandcamp.com

Peggy Gou: "It Makes you Forget (Itgehane)" - There is something about the sounds that Peggy Gou makes, that makes me feel like I'm in a whole different world while staying indoors and away from the outside world.

Yaeji: "Waking Up Down" - This is my motivational song! The song that tells me I can still be productive every day even though I'm confined to certain spaces.

DJ Shadow and Nils Frahm: "Scars" - This track is meditative for me which is something I really need to practice during these trying times.

Tee Vee: "So Far" - I remember when I wrote it, I thought about that feeling when you're at Numbers or some place similar and you're in a room full of people dancing but you feel far away from everyone at the same time.

Toro y Moi: "Freelance" - Interpret this song however you want, but I saw an interview where Toro y Moi is talking about creativity and using technology as a tool and he said something about technology being no better or worse than actual life itself.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: I'm currently working on a ton of new music. I have some shows scheduled in the future but considering the current status of public events everything is tentative at the moment.

The Suffers.

The Suffers
Photo courtesy of The Suffers
The Suffers.
Photo by Huggyloso

Houston musicians rock out a list of the best tunes to play at home

Live Music Now

Days have gone by since the live music scene shuttered its collective doors and it feels like the last concert we attended was years ago. So what to do to get us through these tough times? Listen to music, of course.

We asked local acts for their top five songs to listen to while practicing self quarantine, asking them to include one of their own tunes.

CultureMap compiled a playlist of selections from some of Houston's finest musicians, in alphabetical order, and delivered them to you. These are songs to relax to, to dance to, to party to via FaceTime with your best friends and family.

If you're feeling down about COVID-19 or the passing of the great, Houston-raised Kenny Rogers, this playlist will get you going.

Wash your hands before you listen. Or better yet, wash them while listening.

When all this is over, we encourage you to seek out these talented performers on live stages across the city at venues that will desperately need our help when they re-open to appreciative and enthusiastic audiences.

Anthony Obi aka Fat Tony
Website: anthonyobi.com

R.A.P. Ferreira: "Laundry" - This song is family man raps done well. One of my favorite artists out today, FKA Milo aka Scallops Hotel. Best lyric: “Another dad with a hamper/I wonder if Chance the Rapper do his own laundry?/Who cares.”

Prince: "Don’t Play Me" - This song is from The Truth, the best Prince album of the '90s. This is as great as the output from his genius late-'70s-late-'80s period. And it doesn’t have drums. I love a good song with no drums. I highly recommend this album.

Merle Haggard: "Jimmy the Broom" - A very jazzy, country tune from the great Merle. This storytelling jam is a big inspiration for my forthcoming album, Exotica. This one brings a tear to my eye damn near every time I hear it. The sadness of burying a friend you barely knew.

Quelle Chris: "I Asked God" - Quelle Chris might be my favorite rapper of the last five years, although he’s been making music way longer than that. With all the chaos in the world today, we can all put ourselves in Quelle’s man-yells-at-clouds’ shoes.

Sade: "It’s Only Love That Gets You Through" - Sade, the angel. A tender little ballad about persevering through the tough times. This is my anthem until my postponed shows get rescheduled. I can’t wait to get back to work.

Lastest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: My latest album is Wake Up, produced by Taydex. It’s out now on Carpark Records.

Coline Creuzot
Website: www.colinecreuzot.com

Coline Creuzot: "You Tried It" - Classic R&B sound, an anthem for women who are finding the "good" in goodbye and leaving unhealthy relationships.

Doja Cat: "Say So" - Feel good, fun, flirty song. Also love the viral dance to it on TikTok.

Teyana Taylor: "We Got Love" ft. Mrs Lauryn Hill - A catchy, empowering song all about love: loving yourself, being in love, and spreading love.

Jay Electronica: "Flux Capacitor" ft. Jay-Z - I love the New Orleans feel and the verses. You can't go wrong with Jay Electronica and Jay-Z on a track.

PARTYNEXTDOOR ft Drake, "Loyal" - Instant mood booster. I love the lyrics and the beat.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: My latest single "You Tried It" is out now (available everywhere) with an EP coming this summer!

Marley Moon
Website: www.soundcloud.com/marley-reville-brown

Gwen Stefani: "Cool" - Absolute classic! I love the movement of the song. It takes me to a place each time I listen without a fail.

Model/Actriz: "Suntan" - This song is filled with so much energy. The singer's voice is so seductive to me, and I love the drums in the second chorus. These guys blow me away every time!

Thundercat: "Dragonball Durag" - Thundercat released this to save us I think? This song is so fun and it’s Thundercat, so you know it’s groovy.

Tame Impala: "Breathe Deeper" - So fun! I love the melody, lyrics, groove, and production of this track so much. Kevin Parker rocks at keeping his sound fresh.

The Beach Boys: "Let’s Go Away For A While" - This song is perfect to me in every way. I could stare out the window to this song all day.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: I have two singles coming out: "Lover Boy #1"and "Lover Boy #2" that should be out by summer.

Nathan Quick, Nathan Quick Band
Website: nathanquickmusic.com

The Allman Brothers: "Blue Sky" - It's an uplifting tune.

The Mighty Orq: "Houston Blues" - [I love the] personal connection to our city.

Lukas Nelson: "Set Me Down On A Cloud" - It's an inspiring song with a spirit of overcoming struggle.

Stevie Ray Vaughan: "Lenny" - It puts me in a calming mood.

Nathan Quick: "Keep Moving" - This one is about overcoming hardship

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: Tentative date is May 15 at re:Hab Bar on the Bayou

Sarah Grace, Sarah Grace and The Soul
Website: sarahgraceandthesoul.com

Adam Melchor: “Joyride” - This uplifting and freeing song is exactly what you need right now to take you on a journey out of your house! Adam Melchor’s voice transcends the melody, and his self-harmonies give the song a rich texture.

Scott Mulvahill: “Begin Againers” - Originally hailing from Houston, we can call [Nashville based, Houston raised Scott Mulvahill] our own! This beautiful song about fresh starts is perfect for our current situation because I know many of us are going to be "begin againers" after this craziness is over - but that’s okay!

Josh Ritter: “Best for the Best” - Josh Ritter is my favorite songwriter - his lyrics always paint a rich story, even when they don’t carry a life altering meaning. This song questions the meaning of the phrase “the best is for the best,” and Ritter’s bright spirit can be felt throughout it.

Norah Jones: “It Was You” - Her unique rhythms and surprising melodies combined with her clever dynamics make this song riveting to listen to. Not to mention Norah Jones’ perfect voice, a sweet, soft organ sound floats above the rest of the song several times throughout this song, and a trumpet solo later makes its way to the forefront.

Lake Street Dive: “Good Kisser” - Rachael Price, the lead singer for Lake Street Dive, is one of my greatest influences as a singer. This song is upbeat and full of attitude, and it’s definitely helped bail me out of my COVID-19 slump.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: I just signed with Ruf Records, a top-tier roots label, and while I originally planned to put my album out in early summer, my recording sessions were cancelled due to COVID-19, but keep your eye out for new music from me soon!

Suad Ihsan and Brigette Yawn, Say Girl Say
Website: saygirlsay.com

Megan Thee Stallion: "Savage" - This woman unapologetically embodies authenticity. Besides the catchy, twerk worthy melody, her song celebrates women's multifaceted personalities and talents.

Solange: "Binz" - This short and sweet track exudes a carefree energy while repping her hometown. Binz is a street in Houston near the museum district. Set this one on repeat.

Lizzo: "Truth Hurts" - Queen of self-love, positivity, and keeping it real, Lizzo inspires you to rise above the BS and move on to a higher vibration. This timeless track is already a classic.

Tiwa Savage & Mr Eazi: "Keys to the Kingdom" - Produced by Beyoncé, this track is from her The Lion King: The Gift album. This song expresses light and love, while empowering you to tap into your greatness.

Say Girl Say: "Always Trippin" - This track is our second single from our upcoming sophomore album, Let My Hair Down. Inspired by daily struggles and social expectations that are put on all of us, this song is a friendly reminder that you are enough, everything is going to be okay, and love is the answer.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: We finished our second full length album, Let My Hair Down, and hope to release it soon. Given the current circumstance, all of our plans have been put on hold until we have a better understanding of the situation we are all facing together. Our next show is scheduled for Mother's Day, May 10, at Discovery Green for the Unplugged at the Park acoustic concert series.

Ricky J., Camera Cult
Website: cameracultmusic.com

Haim: "The Steps" - Haim is an amazing band and this song never fails to put me in a good mood.

Vampire Weekend: "Big Blue" - The whole world is in a strange time right now and the line “Am I learning my lesson or am I back on my own?” is too accurate of a feeling.

Foster the People: "I Would Do Anything For You" - I’ve always loved this song and it sets such a sweet vibe while using this time in isolation to relax.

The Police: "Driven to Tears" - I recently got into The Police and they’re so good. This virus really has driven me to tears. Can’t wait for things to get back to normal!

Camera Cult, "Days" - When we wrote this song it was inspired by new love. And I’ve felt this more than ever since my daughter was born in February. So it just means a little more to me now.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: Our new single “Chivalry & Courtly Love” will drop April 24 on all digital platforms. Next show is tentatively scheduled April 30 at White Oak Music Hall with Nite and Moonlight Hotel.

Swimwear Department
Website: swimweardepartment.band

Ned Gayle (bass): Pharoah Sanders, "Love Is Everywhere" - I chose this specific song because despite all the anxiety and terror that might be flooding our brains at the moment, I've been reminded constantly that we are all in this together and we are all ready to help each other out. Plus that opening bass line is UNNNF!

Jack Gordon (drums): Wipers, "Let’s Go Away" - To me, it seems as though while we are being responsible and spirits remain high, most of us aren’t really accustomed to such a shut-in lifestyle. Just looking forward to getting on the other side of this situation where we can get up and go away.

Matt Graham (vocals): Daft Punk, "Doin' It Right" (feat. Panda Bear) - Someday we'll get to start hanging out in crowds again. Right now the way to do it right, is to distance ourselves from one another, but someday, there will be concerts again. There will be dance parties. I anticipate a shared feeling of intense joy and gratitude when we get to dance in a crowded club or see a band from the pit. It's probably going to take my breath away and make me cry some happy tears.

Jeremy Grisbee (keys): Waxahatchee, "Fire" - It's the right balance of sad, reflective, hopeful, earnest, and grounded. It's a song that makes me think of better times in the past, but still present in the moment and hopeful about future good times.

Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: Our show at Continental Club on April 25 with Calliope Musicals and Space Kiddettes is still happening as of now.

Camera Cult.

Camera Cult
Photo by Huggyloso
Camera Cult.
Photo by Julian Bajsel

Houston musicians play a different tune amid sudden venue closures

Live Music Now

Just over a week ago, a co-worker joked amidst growing concerns around the spread of COVID 19 — aka coronavirus — if all shows are cancelled, what will you write about?

That joke isn't funny anymore.

Friday, March 6, is a day that many will remember forever. As an abundance of caution, Austin mayor, Steve Adler, shut down South By Southwest, one of the largest music and multimedia gatherings in the country —despite not having a confirmed case of the virus in the city. It left many in the city to wonder, would our biggest music event of the year, RodeoHouston, be next?

Buoyed by Bayou City grit and determination, RodeoHouston soldiered on. Event organizers released a statement that since it didn’t draw nearly as many international guests, that RodeoHouston would continue while working hand-in-hand with local city health officials in addition to instituting widespread sanitation measures throughout the rodeo grounds.

Then, it happened. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo made the announcement on Wednesday, March 11, at a noon press conference making an emergency health declaration, effectively shutting down RodeoHouston for the first time in 87 years. To add to the sober moment, Turner noted that someone that tested positive for the virus had attended cook-off the previous Friday.

As CultureMap reported, the projected economic reach of RodeoHouston was around $391 million in 2019. It was inevitable the other cowboy boot would drop on the rest of the Houston live music scene. Other venues started to close down operations across the local entertainment industry with concert cancellations falling like autumn leaves in a brisk wind.

That didn’t stop The Continental Club from hosting one last party. Local DJ Disko Cowboy performed at the aptly named Doomsday Disco, which, in hindsight, might not have been the best idea ahead of the self-quarantine measures encouraged by governmental agencies only days later.

Unfortunately, what the RodeoHouston closure could not do, the U.S., Texas, and Houston governments did. To put it bluntly, every venue is effectively shut down. With President Trump asking people to limit gatherings to 10 people to slow the spread of COVID-19, there simply is no wiggle room for event spaces to do legitimate business.

But art finds a way in the darkest days. Artists need an outlet to create and perform, and many local acts swiftly stepped up to the plate to replace lost income or simply show solidarity with all those effected by the financial and cultural fallout in Houston.

Indie surf rock and aquatic-themed Swimwear Department announced a “quarantine livestream” concert on March 14 evening via YouTube, in what seems now like a prescient move. World renowned bands are now following suit. Coldplay and John Legend performed via social media channels on March 16 and March 17.

Keith Urban, who was supposed to take the stage at NRG Stadium on March 16, instead livestreamed a performance featuring his wife, Nicole Kidman, on Instagram, a small condolence to fans who had purchased tickets to the Houston show.

Local synth pop duo Space Kiddettes, who have always had a strong online presence, announced they would perform online throughout the week in various ways, including their LiveStream events on Mondays, featuring music, chats with fans, and jams with invited virtual guests. Thursdays will feature a hybrid musical workout called Blood, Sweat, and Tears to promote physical and mental health. As a forecast of what’s likely to come, their cancelled March 26 Abundantly Queer live show at Pearl Bar will be streamed virtually with viewers asked to donate via Venmo with proceeds going directly to Pearl staff. Check out their Instagram and Facebook feeds for more.

Closures be damned, Irish rock act Blaggards planned to virtually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in self-quarantine style from their Facebook channel at 4 pm. They requested viewers donate to the Houston Food Bank.

Even as bands adapt to the new reality, the biggest question right now is how will the Houston music scene recover from this unprecedented shuttering? Not only are venues losing thousands in revenue, but staff and vendors are out of work with no end to the mass closure in sight. Local musicians are out of paid gigs at their usual Houston spots and touring acts postponed any travel until later this year at the earliest.

It's not a debate that music will live on in some incarnation and concerts in Houston will return. The unknown answer is when will that be and how the local landscape will look when it does.

White Oak Music Hall is one of many venues shutting down shows for the next few weeks.

White Oak Music Hall Opening, 8/16
Photo by Julian Bajsel
White Oak Music Hall is one of many venues shutting down shows for the next few weeks.
Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Where to shop in Houston right now: June vibes with John Varvatos, a Christy Lynn collab, and more


The official start of summer is right around the corner, making June a fantastic time to go shopping.

With Father's Day coming up, it's a great chance to find a special gift just for Dad. Plus, outdoor festivals and markets are popping up everywhere, so shoppers can enjoy exploring and discovering unique finds.

Remember to take breaks from the heat and duck into Houston's air-conditioned stores and malls to chill out. We've rounded up the best spots to score those summer vibes while scoring some incredible finds.

The Avenue

Shop the second drop of Mason's Daughter from Lindsey Zorich's in-house label, exclusively available at The Avenue. The collection has several pieces in a light blue and white seersucker fabric — perfect for summer. Mason's Daughter has also added home goods to their line, including tablecloths, napkins, and flatware.

Photo by Inclán Studio

Indulge in the beautiful styles at the Christy Lynn and Inclán Studio Summer Warehouse Sale through June 23.


Join the crowds at CityCentre Summer Socials. Starting June 1, 2023, from 5–7 pm, CityCentre is hosting bi-weekly al-fresco gatherings. Visitors can enjoy cold drinks, music, giveaways, and mingling. The Sound Cream Airstream, a mobile discotheque, will bring shimmering disco balls, vibrant lights, and summer vibes for the ultimate thirsty Thursday experience. A local DJ will spin hits from the latest charts to classic dance anthems, creating an electric atmosphere. Connect, sip cocktails, sample gourmet bites, and grab a promo card to redeem special offers on food, drinks, and services from participating stores and restaurants during Summer Socials.

Christy Lynn and Inclán Studio Warehouse Sale

Indulge in the beautiful styles at the Christy Lynn and Inclán Studio Summer Warehouse Sale. These two local labels will join forces in a chic venue, offering a delightful selection of fashion pieces. Explore tiered cotton poplin garden dresses, striking floral trousers paired with matching blazers, and elegantly feminine eyelet and ruffle dresses. The sale will run until June 23 at 306 Avondale St., so seize this opportunity to enhance your wardrobe with these swoon-worthy looks.


The global fashion eyewear brand was founded on the philosophy of luxury experimentation and recently opened its first Texas outpost in the Galleria on Level 1, near the Galleria Financial Center. Shoppers can explore the SS23 mainline, the best-selling collaborative Maison Margiela collection, and the recently launched BOLD2 collection.

Jimmy Choo

Houston Premium Outlets has exciting news for fashion-forward and budget-conscious shoppers. The renowned luxury brand Jimmy Choo has just arrived, offering its signature high-end styles and accessories to Houston residents. Explore an extensive range of coveted items, including trendy shoes, chic bags, stylish eyewear, small leather goods, and more.

John Varvatos

The brand John Varvatos is known for its menswear designs, uniting old-world craftsmanship and refined tailoring with modern innovations in textiles. John Varvatos' designs often draw inspiration from the past and make them into something entirely new. Its Galleria boutique reopened on Level 1 near the Galleria Financial Center.

Katy Mills

Katy Mills is getting ready for the highly anticipated National Outlet Shopping Day™, bringing shoppers incredible deals from popular brands, exclusive giveaways, and exciting center-wide experiences to celebrate the art of finding great bargains. Over 65 retailers, including Aeropostale, Coach Outlet, Kate Spade New York, Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, Polo Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Saks OFF 5TH, and Under Armour, Katy Mills will offer discounts of up to 65 percent on a wide range of luxury, designer, and houseware brands.


Available at Heights Mercantile, Mizzen+Main has the "Best Damn Dress Shirt" that goes from work to night with no ironing necessary. The Leeward dress shirt is comfortable and lightweight, perfect for dad, with superior quick-dry and stretch properties.


On June 15 from 5 to 9 pm, join the festivities at M-K-T Sunset Market for an evening of local shopping, delicious food, and entertainment suitable for all ages. This outdoor market takes place trailside every third Thursday, offering a delightful experience with gourmet food pop-ups, live music, engaging activities for children, talented local artisans, and breathtaking sunset views. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a vibrant community gathering filled with tasty treats, unique crafts, and enjoyable moments against the backdrop of a stunning sunset.

Savage X Fenty

Rhianna's Savage X Fenty's Galleria boutique will host a Sip' N Shop event to celebrate the newest collection in June. Starting at 5 pm, shoppers can enjoy branded drinks, light snacks, and an elevated shopping experience. The sip n' shop event will be recurring on the first Thursday of each month and is open to the public.

A Sneaker City

The premier Buy/Sell/Trade store beloved by sneakerheads and streetwear fans recently opened in the Galleria on the Rink Level in the Dining Pavilion. A Sneaker City carries Nike, Jordan Brand, Adidas, Yeezy, and many more.


SuitShop makes its Texas debut at M-K-T, marking its first brick-and-mortar store in the state. Founded by a woman, SuitShop is a direct-to-consumer suiting brand that has served over 200,000 clients since 2016. The brand's success is built on three pillars. They prioritize sustainability with their Eco Stretch suiting fabric made from 38-percent poly-recycled material derived from recycled plastic bottles. They also emphasize gender and size inclusion, offering mix-and-match pieces and the broadest size range in the industry (sizes 00-60). Affordability is another crucial aspect, with prices starting at $200, below the average rental cost.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker will unveil their latest Summer 2023 Collection on June 6th. Serving as a refreshing update to their previously released Summer Pt. 1 collection in April, this new assortment showcases an array of frame families, extended sizing options, and fresh variations of their popular best-selling designs. With prices starting at $95, the collection provides an ideal opportunity for individuals to revamp their summer eyewear and embrace the upcoming sunny days.

Savior of River Oaks Theatre unveils reel cool new luxury movie and dining destination in The Woodlands

Movie Magic in The Woodlands

The Houston company that’s leading the renovation of the historic River Oaks Theatre has revealed big plans for The Woodlands. Culinary Khancepts, an affiliate of Studio Movie Grill, will open a movie theater and a restaurant in the Market Street Development this July.

The movie theater, named Reel Luxury Cinemas, will replace a Cinemark theater that closed in 2022. Its five screens will feature amenities such as luxury recliners, privacy pods, and heated seats. Movie goers will have access to a full menu of food and drinks to dine on during the films.

Joining it will The Audrey Restaurant & Bar. Located on the second floor of Market Street, the Audrey will offer diners a view of the development’s greenspace through 20 large windows. Expect a menu of contemporary American fare that includes pastas, sandwiches, steaks, and seafood towers. True to its namesake, legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, the restaurant will serve a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired brunch on the weekends.

Taken together, both Reel Luxury Cinemas and the Audrey expand Culinary Khancepts’s presence in The Woodlands. The company opened an outpost of Texas comfort food restaurant State Fare in Hughes Landing last year.

“We really wanted to find a location that fit our vision of premium experiences and feel that there was no better fit than Market Street,” Culinary Khancepts president and CEO Omar Khan said in a statement. “It’s a first-class development that aligns with our long-term vision. We are excited to be a part of the Woodlands community and can’t wait for our guests to experience our passion for what we do.”

The area in and around Market Street has seen a number of new additions in the past couple years, including luxurious steak and seafood restaurant Mastro’s Ocean Club and whiskey-obsessed comfort food restaurant Bosscat Kitchen & Libations. Other recent openings in the area include Kirby Ice House and In-N-Out Burger.

"We are thrilled that Culinary Khancepts chose Market Street to debut the Reel Luxury Cinemas and The Audrey Restaurant & Bar concepts," Market Street marketing director Noemi Gonzalez added. "Through the years Market Street has welcomed many first-to-market tenants, and we know our guests will love these elevated cinema and dining experiences."

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

weekend event planner

What’s that smell? It’s Meg, the tropical plant causing quite the stink at the Museum of Natural Science. Fans are awaiting the plant to bloom and, when it does, unleash a powerful odor akin to rotting flesh.

Aside from wicked stinks, Broadway smash Wicked begins a bewitching run. Rocker Olivia Jean ghosts Houston — in a good way. A tattoo fest draws up fun for inked-up locals, while the Arboretum goes bananas celebrating the world’s favorite fruit.

Wicked \u200bCelia Hottenstein (Glinda) and Olivia Valli (Elphaba)

Photo by Joan Marcus

Celia Hottenstein (Glinda) and Olivia Valli (Elphaba) get Wicked.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, June 1

“Meg” the corpse flower at Houston Museum of Natural Science

“Meg” the corpse flower is bringing the funk – literally — at the Museum of Natural Science. Not only is this flower quite the sight, it’s also quite the smell. The flower known officially as Amorphophallus titanum recently started to sprout her spadix, a sign of imminent bloom. (Corpse flowers literally smell like rotting flesh upon blooming.) In 2010, “Lois” the corpse flower caused quite the stink. “Meg” — named for the 50-foot shark at the museum — is smaller than Lois, but promises a bigger odor. Lucky us.

CITYCENTRE presents Summer Socials

CITYCENTRE is getting ready to have memorable evenings all season with the launch of a series of lively, happy hour events in the plaza catered to young professionals. These events will feature Sound Cream Airstream, that all-in-one, mobile discotheque. Visitors will also enjoy cold beverages, music, giveaways, and mingling al fresco every other Thursday night. Plus, participating stores and restaurants will be offering exclusive specials on food, drinks, and services. Come join the fun. 5 pm.

Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center: Wicked

Before the two-part (!), big-screen adaptation drops, check out the Broadway sensation that looks at what happened in the Land of Oz, but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships, until the world decides to call one “good” and the other one “wicked.” Through Sunday, July 2. 1 and 7:30 pm (8 pm Friday; 2 pm and 8 pm Saturday; 2 pm and 7:30 pm Sunday).

Lawndale Art Center presents The Big Show opening reception

Lawndale Art Center will once again have its ambitious annual exhibition of new work by artists practicing within a 100-mile radius of Lawndale. This year, juror Dr. Kanitra Fletcher has selected 113 works by 112 artists from over 400 entries. Raised in Houston, Fletcher worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston prior to her current role as Associate Curator of African American and Afro-Diasporic Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Through Sunday, August 12. 7 pm.

Friday, June 2

Houston Tattoo Arts Festival

The Houston Tattoo Arts Festival will feature dozens of tattoo artists and tattoo contests. There will be entertainment from Olde City Sideshow’s Reggie Bügmüncher, Cenobyte Suspension, Verona Fink, James Maltman, and Captain & Maybelle. There will also be special guests, including Trocon Talhouk and Charles Whitfield from VH1, Holli Marie, Fon, Anwon Boneface, John Paul Roldan, Sirvone Smith, E MAC from Ink Master, and Al Fliction & Team Fliction. 2 pm (11 am Saturday and Sunday).

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Houston Palestine Film Festival

The 16th Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival will go down at MFAH this weekend and Rice Cinema next weekend. First up is A Gaza Weekend, a dark comedy that highlights the bitter reality of life in Gaza between blockade and war. Then, there’s Mediterranean Fever, which tackles the meaning of country and home through two characters. Also, there’s Alam, about a Palestinian-Israeli high schooler who undergoes a political awakening when he falls for the outspoken new girl in his class. 7 pm (3 pm and 7 pm Saturday).

Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. presents August: Osage County

When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after patriarch Dad up and disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets. Winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for best play that same year, Tracy Letts’s acclaimed play examines how people function within dysfunction. Through Saturday, June 10. 8 pm (2 pm Sunday).

House of Blues presents Olivia Jean

Garage rocker Olivia Jean will be rocking out at House of Blues’s Bronze Peacock this weekend. Raving Ghost, her new album, arrived via Third Man Records last month. Produced by Jean at Los Angeles’ famed Valentine Recording Studios and Third Man Recording Studio in her home base of Nashville, Ghost has been met with early excitement from fans and media alike, with the likes of Pitchfork, SPIN, BrooklynVegan, and more chiming in at the outset. 9 pm.

Saturday, June 3

Houston Botanic Garden presents Go Bananas!

Guests can discover all there is to love about the banana during a day-long festival celebrating the tropical fruit, and one of the can’t-miss plants in the Garden’s tropical collection. There will be educational offerings on banana-related topics, cooking demonstrations and tastings of banana and plantain-inspired dishes, a kid’s zone, a farmer’s market, and more. 10 am.

KimoKawaii Anime Experience & Convention

The KimoKawaii Anime Experience & Convention returns for another adventure into the world of anime. The two-day, family-friendly event offers anime fans of all ages and degrees a variety of fun, anime activities. Events and activities include a cosplay contest, voice-over sessions, an anime-themed fashion show, panels, artists, exhibitors, celebrity voice-over actors, local cosplayers, pictures with Totoro, and more. 10 am.

Vino Vinyasa at Hilton Americas-Houston

This weekend, yogis and wine lovers can unite at the Hilton Americas-Houston on the Skyline Terrace for an exclusive yoga class. Vino Vinyasa classes bring together vinyasa-based yoga and fun wine facts through creative yoga poses. The hour-long educational class ends with a comparative wine tasting, inviting you to mindfully taste what's in your glass while applying what you learned through the poses. 11 am.

Fantastic Voyage Pays Tribute to Flash Gordon Parks at Boondocks

The two-man DJ crew known as Soul Control will have a special edition of their monthly Boondocks party this weekend. They’ll be paying tribute to DJ/ethnomusicologist Flash Gordon Parks. Back when he was doing his Easin’ In (Doing Our Thang) residency at Boondocks, he ushered in Soul Control and other DJs to continue the legacy of holding a space for soulful experiences. Cover is $5. 10 pm.

Sunday, June 4

Cigna Sunday in the Park Series

The last Cigna Sunday in the Park for the spring will happen at Mason Park this weekend. We all know this event gives Houstonians a chance to reconnect with their own neighborhoods, explore other new areas in the city and enjoy local entertainment, all while creating meaningful engagements and memories. But this event will have something special: the Astros World Series trophy, which will be on display for a couple hours. There will also be bounce houses, live music, dancing, free food and games. Noon.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents "Woven Wonders: Indian Textiles from the Parpia Collection" opening day

The Parpia Collection — one of the most significant private collections of Indian textiles outside of India — is also one of the most important in the United States. Seldom are collections of Indian textiles as comprehensive, or collected with such expertise. With this exhibition, the MFAH furthers its goal of representing the rich cultural heritage of Houston’s South Asian community. Through Saturday, August 27. 12:30 pm.

Houston Ballet presents Divergence

This will be the last chance to check out this ballet showcase. It includes Aszure Barton’s Angular Momentum, which pays homage to Space City with influences ranging from the city’s architecture depicted in the set design, to the moon landing in the third movement of Mason Bates’ hybrid orchestral-electronic score. The program will also feature a new work by world-renowned choreographer Justin Peck, And with Stanton Welch’s Divergence, this mixed repertoire program is sure to be a showstopper. 2 pm.