Photo courtesy of Fiesta San Antonio Commission Betsy Newman Photography

If you're a recent transplant to San Antonio, chances are you don't know what Fiesta is really all about. Though the 11-day carnival is arguably the city's most cherished tradition, locals tend to keep it close to their chest. Unlike some other towns' touristy to-dos, this shindig is by locals and for locals.

Still, one must start somewhere. While there are dozens of official and unofficial events, these are some of the favorites newcomers shouldn't miss. Stock up on sunscreen and buy a new hat. It's time to party.

Fiesta Fiesta
An event so nice they named it twice; this April 20 kickoff to the season packs Travis Park with food, fun, and fireworks from 4-10 pm. Free and open to the public, this party is also dog-friendly. Here's your chance to buy a puppy guayabera.

Taste of the Republic
This year, the culinary kickoff to Fiesta will take over San Antonio's most iconic venue. Grab a cocktail, walk the Alamo grounds, and nosh on bites from more than a dozen of the city's top chefs. April 20, 6-10 pm.

A Taste of New Orleans
Jazz fills the air at this tribute to the Big Easy, help at the Sunken Darden Theater April 21-23. The menu includes iconic NOLA bites like etouffee, gumbo, boudin, and beignets. There's also some lagniappe for the kiddos courtesy of face-painting booths and clowns.

Fiesta Oyster Bake
Aw shucks! The world is your oyster at this annual foodie festival, held April 21 and 22 from 5-11 pm. Dozens of vendors take over the St. Mary's University grounds, selling every possible iteration of signature shellfish. The music ain't too shabby, either. Headliners this year include Pat Green, Color Me Badd, and Everclear.

Alamo Heights Night
Party in the '09 during this family friendly block party featuring food, rides, and live entertainment. The one-night-only engagement takes place on April 21 at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Texas Cavaliers River Parade
This floating parade has been making a splash since 1941. More than a dozen floats will dazzle spectators on April 24 from 7-9 pm.

Fiesta de Los Reyes
A multi-day tribute to San Antonio's rich Mexican heritage, this free event happens from 10am-midnight Sunday through Friday and 10 am-1 am Saturday. Each night from April 21-30 at Market Square features a bonanza of Fiesta foods and some of the nation's most popular Tejano and Conjunto acts.

A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA)
One of Fiesta's wildest parties, NIOSA takes over La Villita from April 25-28 to celebrate the city's diverse cultural heritage. Expect long lines and a raucous crowd — especially on Thursday's college night. And bring plenty of cash — this year, the fest did away with the wristbands.

Fiesta Cornyation
Part political lampoon, part burlesque show, this decidedly adults-only revue takes over Charline McCombs Empire Theatre April 25-27 with two shows a night at 7 pm and 10 pm.

Taste of the Northside
Though many of Fiesta's events take place in the city's core, this foodie spectacular gives North Siders a reprieve from all those high Uber fares. The April 25 event isn't cheap but provides bites from more than 25 local restaurants and endless wine and beer samples.

Battle of Flowers Parade
The grand dame of Fiesta's parades, this vivid promenade is produced exclusively by women. Tickets are required for dedicated seating, but plenty of free vantage points are throughout the route. And if you have the day off (who can work during Fiesta?), head to Bonham Exchange afterward for their legendary day party. The parade starts at 9:30 am on April 28.

King William Fair

Nestled among the breathtaking homes of the historic King William District, this street fair includes food and drink vendors, children's activities, and artisan vendors. It's even more fun for those who live in the neighborhood. Charm your way into getting an invite to one of the front-yard parties.

Fiesta Flambeau Parade
Billed as "America's largest illuminated parade," this dazzling display On April 29 is the rowdier cousin of Battle of the Flowers. Reserved seating is available, but the smart money is to park at one of the bars on the route. Margaritas definitely help with all the hooting and hollering.

Want even more ideas of how to celebrate? Check out the full list of official events here.

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

weekend event planner

This weekend breaks bad, as the stars of Breaking Bad hit Houston to introduce the city to their mezcal brand. The city celebrates our Houston Astros with a big bash, and art lovers can help artists in need after the devastating Winter Street Studios fire.

And anyone who's ever needed a drink to get through a Shakespeare production will appreciate a new "smashed" hit comedy — where an actor downs five shots before leading the cast into the show.

Enjoy (responsibly); here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, January 19

Spec's presents Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul of Dos Hombres Mezcal

Any Breaking Bad fans out there? Well, Jesse and Mr. White will be in town! Stars and co-creators of Dos Hombres Mescal Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul will be stopping by the great state of Texas this weekend, for two bottle-signing events in Dallas (on Saturday) and Houston (at Spec’s downtown). Cranston and Paul love engaging with fans and sharing their passion for mezcal, and these bottle signings have been a huge hit in the past. 10 am.

Drift presents Purse Bingo

Drift, one of Houston's most popular sports bars, is holding its first Purse Bingo night this weekend. Purse Bingo is a new take on the classic bingo game where participants who successfully get bingo on their card can win a designer purse. There will be five rounds of bingo where participants can win up to $6,000 in prizes, including a Bottega Veneta or Valentino designer purse. Drift will hold Purse Bingo on the third Thursday of every month, and tickets are available for $25 each. 7 pm.

Paranormal Clique

Paranormal Cirque will expose attendees to a unique creation of combined theatre, circus, and cabaret with a new European-style flare. Cirque Italia is now presenting a brand-new show for a mature audience, with a horror story that features different shades of sexy. No one under the age of 13 will be admitted to the show. Guests aged 13 through 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Through Sunday, January 29. 7:30 pm (6:30 and 9:30 pm Saturday; 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm Sunday).

Friday, January 20

Blaffer Art Museum presents "The Secrecy of Water" opening reception

The Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston presents the first solo museum exhibition for Leslie Martinez, as well as monumental video installation "We Are in Hell When We Hurt Each Other," by interdisciplinary artist Jacolby Satterwhite. Martinez creates immersive, spellbinding paintings that explore ideas of place, climate, landscape, and personhood through unconventional methods of applying and interlaying various materials, textures, and hues on canvas. Through Sunday, March 12. 6 pm.

14 Pews presents EO

EO, a gray donkey with melancholic eyes and a curious spirit, begins his life as a circus performer before escaping on a trek across the Polish and Italian countryside in a journey marked by absurdity and warmth in equal measure. With his first film in seven years, legendary filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski directs one of his most free and visually inventive films yet, placing the viewer directly in the heart and mind of the four-legged protagonist. 7 pm (8 pm Saturday).

The Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston presents Jewish Life in Rome in Three Chapters: Ghettoization, Emancipation, and Holocaust

The Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Houston, will host a lecture about Jewish life in Rome, presented by Marla Stone, to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. Stone’s lecture will present the history of Jewish life in Rome and the Roman Ghetto, from its inception in 1555 through the current iteration as a fashionable neighborhood in the city’s historic center. 7 pm.

Houston Symphony presents Riots & Scandals Festival: Stravinsky Rite Of Spring

A century after its riotous premiere, The Rite of Spring’s pounding rhythms, propulsive energy, and sheer sonic impact remain an immersive, electrifying experience unlike anything else in all of art. Music director designate Juraj Valčuha leads this groundbreaking masterpiece as part of a two-week spotlight on works that scandalized the artistic establishments of their day. Silvestre Revueltas’s rowdy and relentless Sensemayá opens the concert. 8 pm (2:30 pm Sunday).

Saturday, January 21

2023 Houston Astros FanFest

The Houston Astros are excited to host their annual FanFest, as they celebrate their 2022 World Series Championship and get ready for the 2023 season. FanFest is the official kickoff to the 2023 season and has something fun for the whole family, including autograph sessions, photo opportunities, the World Series trophy, games, and more. All proceeds benefit the Astros Foundation. A limited number of vouchers will be available the morning of the event. Vouchers will appear in the MLB Ballpark app 24 hours prior to the event. 11 am.

Art Fundraiser for Winter Street Studios

Last month, a devastating fire took place at Winter Street Studios, destroying several studios and damaging countless artworks, equipment, and personal belongings. Over 100 artists have been affected and displaced from their studio spaces. This weekend, a pop-up art show and fundraiser will take place at Silver Street Studios Warehouse. The public is invited to come buy artwork to support the artists, while they enjoy beer, snacks, and live music. All proceeds will go to provide stipends to the artists affected by the fire. 11 am.

Hops n' Hot Sauce Festival

The 7th Annual Hops n’ Hot Sauce Festival, featuring fresh beer from SpindleTap Brewery, will include over 70 vendors – from all over the state of Texas and beyond – with hot sauce, salsas, jerky, jams & jellies, pickled products, seasonings, sweets, and more. The event will include a hot pepper-eating contest and spicy food challenge, as well as a silent auction benefiting Addi’s Faith Foundation and Texas Heroes Advocating Autism Research. 11 am.

Brass Jar Productions presents Drunk Shakespeare

Brass Jar Productions will present the Houston production of the “smashed” hit comedy. It begins with one actor drinking five shots of liquor before attempting to lead the cast through a Shakespeare play in under 90 minutes. Pop culture references, improvisation, audience games, a wealth of surprises and liberal departures from the text (with outrageous consequences) make this accessible for anyone who likes a good time. Through Saturday, April 29. 7 pm.

Sunday, January 22

4th Wall Theatre Company presents The Sound Inside

When Bella Baird, an isolated creative writing professor at Yale, begins to mentor a brilliant but enigmatic student named Christopher, the two form an unexpectedly intense bond. As their lives and the stories they tell about themselves become intertwined in unpredictable ways, Bella makes a surprising request of Christopher that neither knows if he can fulfill. Brimming with suspense, Adam Rapp’s riveting play explores the limits of what one person can ask of another. Through Saturday, February 11. 3 pm.

Punk Rock Garage Sale at Equal Parts Brewing

Insomnia Gallery and Deep End Records will be heading to Equal Parts Brewing for the first time for the first Punk Rock Garage Sale of 2023. Skip those big-box retailers and avoid the anxiety of slow shipping times. About 30+ individual vendors will be on hand offering up everything cool – music, art, toys, books, comics, clothing, music gear, and crazy handmade offerings. Willow’s TX BBQ will also be around for a rare pop-up. 1 pm.

NobleMotion Dance presents Coin Toss

NobleMotion Dance’s pre-professional company returns in an evening that will include original works by Lenorris Arnold, Reagan Crandall, Jaiquan Laurencin, and NobleMotion Dance artistic directors Andy Noble and Dionne Noble. Additionally, this concert will feature original choreography by NMD2 company members and a special guest performance by Sam Houston State University. Athletic, generous, fun and communal, Coin Toss highlights the talents of 13 up-and-coming dance artists. 7 pm.

William Shatner/Facebook

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

weekend event planner

The second weekend of 2023 and the start of lunar new year events sees some cool art and music performances around town — and Captain Kirk. Some local groups and studios host intriguing art shows at Silver Street Studios, the Menil Collection, and Holocaust Museum of Houston.

Music comes via the Central Library, DACAMERA, and Houston Symphony. A groundbreaking, trend-setting movie gets the stage treatment in a New Jack way. And speaking of movies, one of our most treasured pop culture figures, William Shatner, comes town to take space, the final frontier.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, January 12

Houston in Harmony: Featuring James Palmer

Come to Central Library and enjoy the melodies performed by James Palmer, a dynamic young musician. A prize winner and finalist in numerous international competitions, Palmer has produced innovative, social media projects such as the “Scriabin Preludes Project” (2019-2020) and the upcoming “What is a Piano Prelude?” series (2022). He is currently a doctoral student at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, studying with Dr. Robert Roux on full scholarship. 11 am.

Silver Street Studios presents Bogdan Mihai: "Nature Remembered" opening reception

Silver Street Studios will present the most recent solo exhibition from Romania-raised, Houston-based artist Bogdan Mihai. Do you remember how your grandmother always placed things of value on top of a hand-woven doily? Mihai has created a series of images of animal porcelain figurines, each with its own doily created from natural elements. The images remind us all of how we need to treat the natural world we live in with special care and attention. Through Saturday, January 28. 5 pm.

Mezclada Dance Company presents All of the Above

This new, evening-length dance work by Mezclada Dance Company fuses and celebrates a combination of cultures and art forms such as hip-hop culture, Latin culture, and traditional, concert dance styles. Through the practice of fusing these styles together, Mezclada Dance Company hopes to pay homage to the cultures that inspire the performance, while creating a blend of art that will speak to a wide range of audience members. 7:30 pm.

Friday, January 13

Holocaust Museum of Houston presents "Woman, the Spirit of the Universe" opening day

"Woman, the Spirit of the Universe," designed and created by artist Carolyn Marks Johnson, features stunning bronze collars inspired by 23 American heroines who fought bravely and tirelessly for equality. The collars are stitched by hand, using hand-worked cotton and then cast in bronze. For most of us, a collar is simply an adornment for a shirt or dress. In Johnson’s art, a collar symbolizes the struggle to establish women’s rights. Through Sunday, April 2. 10 am.

Czech Center Museum Houston presents Monarch Chamber Players

Monarch Chamber Players is a collective of Houston-based, professional musicians committed to taking classical chamber music out of the concert hall and into accessible community spaces. Monarch concerts provide a space for friends, neighbors, and communities to connect with each other and with the musicians, as well as an informal setting to become more intimately familiar with classical music. 6 pm.

DACAMERA presents Parker Quartet

Inspiring performances, luminous sound, and exceptional musicianship are the hallmarks of the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet. Renowned for its dynamic interpretations and polished, expansive colors, the group has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation, dedicated purely to the sound and depth of their music. The concert will include Bartók's Quartet No. 5, Sz. 102, Mozart's Quartet in E minor, K. 417d [fragment], and Dvořák's Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, “American.” 7:30 pm.

Je'Caryous Johnson presents New Jack City Live

Set to the soundtrack of some of the most classic songs from the film (“I Wanna Sex You Up” better be in this!), this stage production will give audiences an opportunity to experience a classical theater storytelling of their favorite '90s movie – which made action-movie stars out of Wesley Snipes and Ice-T – that can only be experienced the Je’Caryous Johnson way… live on stage. 7 pm (3 and 8 pm Saturday; 3 pm Sunday).

Saturday, January 14

14 Pews presents Ikiru

One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, this 1952 film shows the director at his most compassionate—affirming life through an explora­tion of death. Takashi Shimura beautifully portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer who is impelled to find meaning in his final days. Presented in a radically conceived, two­-part structure and shot with a perceptive, humanistic clarity of vision, Ikiru is a multifaceted look at what it means to be alive. 7 pm.

Noel Miller: Everything is F#&ked

Noel Miller's biting one-liners and topical social commentary has made him a force to be reckoned with in the comedy world. Between directing, touring, podcasting, music and streaming, Miller's rise has been nothing short of meteoric. In addition to starring in the popular YouTube series That's Cringe, and the comedy duo/podcast Tiny Meat Gang with fellow comedian Cody Ko, Miller has created a successful series on his own, including his format around the hit, British reality show Love Island. 7 pm.

Smart Financial Centre presents William Shatner and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Smart Financial Centre will have a night with the one-and-only William Shatner, the original Captain James T. Kirk (and the original T.J. Hooker — for all the ‘80s babies out there). Following a screening of the classic film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Shatner takes to the stage to share some behind-the-scenes stories from his career, including answering audience questions. A limited number of VIP tickets will be available, which include a post-show photo op with Shatner. 7:30 pm.

Houston Symphony presents Riots & Scandals Festival: Bartók Miraculous Mandarin + Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto

Prepare for an extraordinary concert experience when world-renowned virtuoso Yefim Bronfman tackles Rachmaninoff’s lush and legendary Piano Concerto No. 3—one of classical music’s most well-known and beloved masterpieces. And music director Juraj Valčuha leads the orchestra in Bartók’s fearlessly provocative Miraculous Mandarin, part of a two-week spotlight on music that caused an uproar. This combines a gritty urban setting, an explosive musical score, and a lurid plot rife with seduction, lust, and murder. 8 pm (2:30 pm Sunday).

Sunday, January 15

The Menil Collection presents Samuel Fosso: "African Spirits" closing day

Sunday is the last day to catch this exhibition of 14 large-scale, gelatin silver prints from Samuel Fosso’s African Spirits series, self-portraits with Fosso portraying Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm X, and other prominent figures from 20th-century, Black liberation movements. Fosso’s reinterpretations of these historic photographs pay homage to the figures in the original images and raise questions about individuality, celebrity, the media, and the complicated history of representation. 11 am.

POST Houston presents Lunar New Year Celebration

POST Houston is celebrating the Lunar New Year, which welcomes the Year of the Rabbit (Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese Zodiac). During the day, an Asian pop-up market will transform the northern docks at POST Houston into a carnivalesque atmosphere with food vendors serving traditional foods eaten at the Lunar New Year, games, arts and crafts, and other cultural activities. At night, the facility’s X Atrium will host a spectacular party headlined by DJ Phon and MC’ed by Washington Ho of the House of Ho. Noon.

Rothko Chapel presents "Images & Words: Media's Influence on the Struggle for Civil Rights" Annual MLK Birthday Observance

In partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and The Gordon Parks Foundation, the 2023 Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Observance explores the role of the media in civil rights movements past and present. Inspired by the MFAH’s current exhibition "Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power," panelists share their work and perspectives on how photographers and journalists shape narratives around social justice movements and leaders. 3 pm.

lacolombedor.com [https://www.lacolombedor.com/bar-no-3]

Here are the top 17 things to do in Houston this weekend

weekend event planner

This weekend features a host of cultural celebrations, from Latino performing arts, a popular NPR political podcast, a milestone moment for the symphony, Hispanic heritage, jazz, and more.

Meanwhile, movie fans who want to also enjoy the weather can enjoy outdoor screenings downtown, while music fans can take in cool jazz and a meaningful Ukrainian benefit show. A local sports bar hosts a purr-fect pet and animal fundraiser, and a famed boutique hotel mixes in some cocktail classes.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, September 15

The Alliance presents United We Dine
The Alliance will host an international food and culture celebration that will highlight Houston’s diversity, while highlighting the important work the organization does to help refugees and underserved individuals in the community. Local restaurants will provide food sampling to give attendees the opportunity to virtually transport themselves to the countries and regions. During the event, attendees will also have the opportunity to watch live performances from the finest artists, representing various cultures from around the globe. 6 pm.

Arte Publico Press presents Showcase of Latino Performing Arts
Arte Público Press is celebrating 40 years of promoting literacy and reading through publishing excellence. In honor of the 40th anniversary, the nonprofit will host a showcase of Latino performing artists. This show will be a collaborative effort bringing together outstanding artists from the opera, symphony, ballet, and other performing groups to highlight the vibrant influence of Latin-American and Latino cultures. 6:30 pm.

NPR Politics Podcast Live
After a two year hiatus, the NPR Politics Podcast is headed back to the stage, featuring a panel of your favorite NPR voices: Ashley Lopez, Asma Khalid, Domenico Montanaro, Susan Davis and Tamara Keith. This all-star cast will dig into local and national midterm races, the big political news and issues in Texas and what they just cannot let go of. Join them for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the podcast is made, and a chance to put your questions to the pod squad. 8 pm.

Friday, September 16

Houston Art Gallery Association presents Fall Art Gallery Celebration
Join Foto Relevance and the Houston Art Gallery Association (HAGA) for this two-day, city-wide inaugural celebration. HAGA is composed of the finest art galleries in Houston, each with their own distinct programming, representing the most outstanding artists in Texas and around the world. This weekend, enjoy extended hours at many participating galleries across town. Foto Relevance will be open late on Friday. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 11 am.

Alley Theatre presents Lend Me A Soprano
Ken Ludwig (The Three Musketeers, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express), America’s preeminent comedic playwright, debuts a “revisal” of his classic hit with women in the leading roles. This play is set in 1934 as Mrs. Lucille Wiley, General Manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is ready to welcome world-famous soprano Elena Firenzi for her one-night only starring role in Carmen. Through Sunday, October 9. 8 pm (2:30 and 7:30 pm).

Houston Symphony presents Juraj Valčuha Inaugural Weekend: Verdi Requiem
For his first concerts as Music Director Designate, Juraj Valčuha shares a towering masterpiece from Italian opera master Giuseppe Verdi. Traversing a sweeping emotional arc from fiery anguish and grief to radiant joy and ultimate peace, this live performance is moving and cathartic, captivating and euphoric, poignant and profound. The concert will feature the Houston Symphony Chorus and vocalists Ana María Martínez, Marina Prudenskaya, Jonathan Tetelman, and Dmitry Belosselskiy. 8 pm (2:30 pm Sunday)

The Rustic presents Jungle Fire
The Rustic is kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with the Los Angeles-based TropiFunk juggernaut Jungle Fire, for a night of dancing and live music. With a focus on Afro-Caribbean and West African rhythms, the diverse, musical and cultural backgrounds of Jungle Fire’s members reflect LA's unique international and multicultural mix of beats, sounds and flavors. The event is free with an RSVP, but guests are encouraged to arrive early as the event is majority standing room only. 8 pm.

Saturday, September 17

10th Annual Anita Sabedra Team Hope Walk
The Huntington's Disease Society of America's (HDSA) Greater Houston Area Affiliate will be hosting this annual walk, at Middlebrook Greenbelt Park. Team Hope is HDSA’s largest, national grassroots fundraising event, which takes place in over 100 cities across the U.S. and has raised more than $20 million for Huntington's disease. Thousands of families, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and communities walk together each year to support HDSA’s mission to improve the lives of people affected by Huntington's disease and their families. 9 am.

Memorial Trail Ice House Octobeerfest 2022
It’s Octobeerfest time over MTIH, with several breweries participating in this event. Also, Cortlandt & 9th will be serving up pretzels, bratwursts with sauerkraut, and schnitzels. Bayou City Horn Band will perform; more fun comes with a brief break for a stein holding competition. Wristbands for this event can be purchased for $25 (day of event), $20 (pre-order). Each wristband purchase guarantees 10 beer sample tokens, as well as tokens to vote for “Best Brewery” and “Best Octobeerfest Beer.” 11 am.

Second Annual Pitmaster Party Wildgame Edition
Dozier’s BBQ in Fulshear will host this event devoted to making dishes with smoked wild game. Pitmaster Jim Buchanan has invited 14 top Texas pitmasters, starting with two of the top five in Texas Monthly’s list of the state’s 50 best barbecue joints: John Bates of Interstellar BBQ (Austin) and Ernest Servantes of Burnt Bean Co. (Seguin). A portion of proceeds benefits the Fulshear Police Foundation. Tickets are $75 and include samples from the participants and live music by Morgan Obenhaus (beverages purchased separately). 11 am.

Craft Cocktail Class at La Colombe d'Or
Raise a glass to end summer and enjoy happy hour on the 10th floor of the La Colombe d’Or Tower, with hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, followed by a private cocktail masterclass with Bar No. 3 chief bartender Patrick Dougherty. At the cocktail workshop experience, you will learn the fundamentals and expert tips & tricks of cocktail making. Work closely alongside Dougherty with carefully curated ingredients and hand-selected bitters, seasonings and mixers. Tickets are $90 per person. There will also be a pop-up, open-air cinema screening of The Breakfast Club (including a three-course dinner with dishes from celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme) at 8 pm on Sunday. 4 pm.

Be a 9th Wonder Foundation presents Lucky9 Casino Royale
Ex-professional basketball player and entrepreneur Remi Yusuf, the founder and global director of Be A 9th Wonder Foundation, presents this inaugural event of glitz and gambling. All proceeds benefit the Foundation’s future 9th Wonder Community Center, which will feature a gym and weight room that supports adaptive fitness for individuals with special needs, and other Houston-area events. Projected events will be hosted for individuals within the special needs community, youth in underserved communities, and adolescents transitioning to career and college readiness programs. 6 pm.

Discovery Green presents Screen on the Green
Discovery Green recently announced the fall schedule of Bank of America’s Screen on the Green. As part of the 15th anniversary programming, this season’s monthly lineup celebrates the diverse ages, interests, and cultures of visitors with family-friendly movies Selena, Monster House, and The Mitchells vs. The Machines. First up, it's that 1939 Judy Garland classic The Wizard of Oz. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are encouraged. 7 pm.

The Houston Jazz Collective presents The Houston Jazz Festival
As part of the Houston Jazz Festival, the Houston Jazz Collective presents The American Masters Series, featuring the hardbop supergroup The Cookers, who will perform from their new record, Look Out!. Opening for the Cookers will be Nellie McKay, a soulful jazz musician, pianist, vocalist, composer and arranger who will perform from her album, Sister Orchid. The evening will also include the artwork of acclaimed artist Jack Whitten. 8 pm.

Sunday, September 18

Pet-a-Palooza at George Country Sports Bar
Join The Diana Foundation for fun, festivities, a selection of gourmet lunches (prepared by Picnic On The Green), and cocktails. Show your support through a variety of one or more options. Purchase a purple "Pet-A-Palooza Dog Tag Pendant" for $25, buy raffle tickets for an opportunity to win one of the multiple prizes, or bring a donation of essentials such as kitty litter, dog and/or cat food. All proceeds will benefit two fantastic pet charities: Friends For Life Animal Shelter & The Pet Patrol. Friendly, leashed pets are welcome. 11 am.

Mid Main Micro Marathon
The Mid Main Micro Marathon has taken the “run” out of running and left little more than the start and finish. The course, measuring a grueling 0.26 miles, can be hard on the system, so obviously participants will need a break or two (with breakfast tacos, dance parties, coffee, and more) to refuel as they make their way around the Mid Main complex. Finishers along with family and friends will be treated to beer and music by Allen Oldies Band, Brooklyn Twang, and more. The event benefits Animal Justice League. Noon.

Candlelight x UNHCR Presents Ukrainian Benefit Concert For Peace Fundraiser
Candlelight presents a two-show series of benefit concerts in favor of refugees by collaborating with UNHCR, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with the objective of benefiting Ukrainian citizens affected by the humanitarian crisis, and the refugees who were forced to flee their country as a result of the war. All proceeds from this Candlelight series will be allocated to help refugees affected by this conflict. 6:30 and 9 pm.

Photo courtesy of The Orange Show

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

weekend event planner

This weekend's welcoming weather sees a ton of fun. Look for some hot concerts, one featuring Mr. Worldwide. An edgy comic hits downtown, and speaking of downtown, Friday at Minute Maid Park sees a chance to score a jersey of a red-hot Astros star and Nancy's Hustle fan.

Families and kids can enjoy a free video event on the grass, and our beloved Orange Show invites fans to get crafty at a local park.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, September 8

Off The Wall Gallery presents Mackenzie Thorpe: "A World of Love" opening weekend
This exhibit features new original paintings, sculptures, and limited editions by the celebrated British artist. One of the world's most collected and sought-after contemporary artists, Thorpe's works speak to one's imagination; and are a powerful expression of the human spirit's hope, kindness, and endurance. Thorpe will be on hand for special events on Friday and Saturday. Through Saturday, September 24. Noon (5 pm Saturday; 1 and 5 pm Sunday).

Giveon in concert
On his recently released debut album Give or Take, Long Beach soul singer Giveon is seriously going through it. The artist, who has collaborated with such pop giants as Drake and Justin Bieber, spends most of Give singing about heartbreak (“Unholy Matrimony,” the final track, is one heart-wrenching tale of an aborted wedding day), with Giveon also having a heart-to-heart with his moms on the phone. Get ready for a night of sad, soulful songs when he comes to Houston to perform this weekend. 8 pm.

Friday, September 9

River Oaks District presents FotoFest Exhibit opening day
The posh shopping/dining/entertainment hub is partnering with contemporary arts organization FotoFest in the District’s latest art exhibition. The two-week-long presentation, located next to Veronica Beard, will feature a powerful collection of contemporary fine print photography from a bevy of acclaimed international artists; each piece in the exhibition is thoughtfully selected by FotoFest’s dedicated team, with special attention being paid to skill and cultural impact. 10 am.

Bridgeland presents Friday Night Bites
Bridgeland, one of the top-selling, master-planned communities in the Greater Houston area from The Howard Hughes Corporation, celebrates the return of Friday Night Bites. Enjoy an evening under the stars, featuring an assortment of Houston-area food trucks and field games. Guests can enjoy a diverse line-up of savory dishes from Houston favorites, and entertainment will be provided by the lively local band Nervous Rex. 6 pm.

Bill Burr (Slight Return)
When it comes to telling jokes that tick off people on both sides of the aisle (watch his latest Netflix special, Bill Burr: Live at Red Rocks and see that we’re not lying), Bill Burr is a master. A Grammy-nominated comedian, Burr is one of the top comedic voices of his generation, achieving success in TV and film as well as on stage. Burr sells out venues internationally and his Monday Morning Podcast is one of the most downloaded comedy podcasts. As we reported, he makes his slight Houston return at Toyota Center. 7 pm.

Houston Ballet presents Peter Pan
Choreographed by Trey McIntyre, this reinterpretation of Sir James M. Barrie’s classic tale is told through the eyes of a child, with spectacular flying sequences, swashbuckling sword fights, giant puppets, and, of course, a little pixie dust. Set to a soaring score by Sir Edward Elgar, arranged by Niel DePonte, with elaborate sets by Thomas Boyd and colorful, punk-fashion inspired costumes from Broadway great Jeanne Button, this magical ballet is sure to mesmerize audiences of all ages. Through Sunday, September 18. 7 pm (7:30 pm Saturday; 2 pm Sunday).

Mexico en el Corazon at Discovery Green
Here, guests can immerse themselves in the colors, artistry, and music of Mexico with Mariachis, folkloric ballet, and more. This showcase of traditional Mexican culture features more than 50 performers in stunning traditional costumes as part of the second North American tour presented by NAIMA. Local performers and a live presentation of El Grito create a magical evening of culture and community. 7 pm.

Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels
The Astros open up a three-game series with the Angels, with the first 10,000 fans scoring a throwback Justin Verlander 1990s Astros jersey. Aside from giving away the jersey of a potential 2022 Cy Young winner, the night also celebrates 60 years of Major League Baseball in Houston. The familiar Friday Night Fireworks features music and spectacle (weather permitting), and fans who show up early can partake in Pregame Happy Hour presented (5 pm-7 pm). Game starts at 7:10 pm.

Saturday, September 10

Roots Semi-Annual Wine Sale
Over at Roots this weekend, vendors will showcase a hand-selected medley of wines that offer variety and completeness at a significant discount, while providing information on the wine and samples. You don’t want to miss out as they may even have a “secret” offering. At the sale, customers can simply fill out a form, pick their preferred wines and make a payment. The wines will be available for pick-up the following week. The sale is free to attend, but bottle prices will vary. Noon.

Community Artists’ Collective presents “Every Body” reception and artist talk
Shani Crowe, an interdisciplinary artist from Chicago’s South Side, celebrates the diversity of women’s bodies and interconnectedness in this exhibition. Crowe, who received her BFA in film production from Howard University and has collaborated with Solange Knowles, centers her work on traditional African coiffure, beauty ritual and how African aesthetics can be re-contextualized to foster connectivity and unity among people of African descent. Through Saturday, October 22. 1 pm.

The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art presents The Craft Project
Join The Orange Show and 2022 Craft Project co-chairs Jackie Wallace and Katelyn Wallace for the beloved, annual community crafting day. Each year, we invite the public to help create hand-made centerpieces for the Orange Show's annual gala. Bring the family out to beautiful Smither Park and get crafty. Guest creations will be featured at REPSYCHEDELIC: The Orange Show's 41st Annual Gala on November 5th. Also enjoy beer sampling from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, bites and margaritas available for purchase from El Patio, and tunes from Blue Heron Yacht Club. 1 pm.

14 Pews presents The Automat
Producer/director Lisa Hurwitz’s menschy, 2021 documentary tells the 100-year story of the iconic restaurant chain Horn & Hardart, the inspiration for Starbucks, where generations of Americans ate and drank coffee together at communal tables. From the perspective of former customers entertainer Mel Brooks, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Horns, the Hardarts, and key employees, audiences will watch a business climb to its peak success and then grapple with fast food in a forever-changed America. 7 pm.

Hope Stone presents “smART breaks”
Hope Stone, Inc. will be giving parents and kids a robust digital arts library of music, theater, and dance classes that combines social and emotional learning competencies to motivate a child’s engagement and joy. This video library of arts education and mindfulness classes can be useful with parents at home or for teachers in the classroom. Blending the arts and mindfulness have proven to inspire creative thinking, ignite the brain, and bolster academic success. Read more here. 7 pm.

Sunday, September 11

Obscure Houston Oddities Market at Numbers
Creep through Numbers Nightclub and marvel at the mystifying and macabre offerings of our 30 unique vendors. Offerings will include wet specimens, taxidermy, antiques, live exotic mantises, one-of-a-kind toys and collectibles, found art, original works, artisan products, skulls, bones, and so much more! We will have performances from a one-man band and sideshow act, along with a drag show. This event is family-friendly and all ages are welcome. 1 pm.

Pitbull in concert with Iggy Azalea
Pitbull, Mr. Worldwide himself, will be showing up and getting loco at The Woodlands this weekend, as part of his Can’t Stop Us Now Tour. (Let’s hope he’ll be pouring out some of that vodka he created awhile back for everybody!) He’s touring in support of his new album, Timeless. Joining him on this tour is Iggy Azalea, Miss I’m-So-Fancy herself. So, expect a ton of booty-shaking will be going on at this show. 8 pm.

13 best Labor Day weekend events to kick back in Houston

labor day 2022

Hard to believe, but September is here, which means the start of more holidays like Labor Day. For some, it means a chance to fire up the grill and chill. For others, it means a quick road trip.

For those staying in town, the weekend offers a host of events (more here), a chance to catch first-run movies in the theater for only $3, or an opportunity to add a furry friend to the family. Other events include a colorful (literally) party, a slabfest, a foamy fest, soaring fun at the flight museum, water sliding at Bobcat Teddy's, and a pool party at Clé.

Relax, kick back, and stay cool; here are your best bets for Labor Day.


Gemma’s Boutique in Pasadena will have a Labor Day market. This spot is filled with art, crafts, home decor, clothing, glassware, purses, totes, candy, etc. So, you’ll be able to find something good. 10 am.

The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation will present the Harris County Labor Day Celebration, over at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. There will be a silent auction, a raffle and a petting zoo, as well as entertainment, games and activities for the whole family. 10 am.

The Avenue Apartments will have something called a Labor Day color party. It’ll be a fun and unique theme that celebrates happiness, colors, and the spirits of all happiness. This will be a kid-friendly event. 5 pm.


Taylor’s of Houston is looking for all slabriders to show up to its Labor Day Weekend Slabfest. Lowriders, slingshots, bikers and jeeps are also welcome to the party, which will have food, vendors and live performances. 4 pm.

The Dive will have what they call a “Blunted Session” the day before Labor Day. Special guest McPullish will come in and play reggae, dub and dancehall music for the deep listeners and dance floor groovers. 5 pm.

Amazonia Discotheque will get real foamy with a Labor Day foam party. Enjoy the best Latino music as you get all lathered up in non-toxic foam — the way God intended! 9 pm.


Lone Star Flight Museum will say goodbye to a plane-amazing (ya get it?) summer with a day of Labor Day goodies. A $10 admission will get you a free hot dog, chips and a drink, as you check out all the cool things they got. 10 am.

Cheeky Monkeys in Sugar Land will have a Labor Day Safari for the kiddies. For $19.99 per kiddo, they’ll be doing such fun stuff as face painting, balloon bending, crafts and an animal freeze dance party. 11 am.

Bobcat Teddy’s Ice House will have its annual Labor Day party. Hot dogs and burgers will be on the grill, Chris Goodwin will be providing the music, and it’ll be your last chance to water-slide the day away. Noon.

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice of Pearland will be slinging out the ices for a Labor Day fest. They will have games of the patio, music & dancing, some swag giveaways, limited-time flavors like Melon Fresca Italian Ice and so much more. Noon.

Texas Leaguer Brewing Company will have a good ol’ Labor Day BBQ at its beerpark. Boot Shooters BBQ will be sending its food truck over there to serve up scrumptious barbecue for people to consume while guzzling down some Texas Leaguer ales. Noon.

Clé Houston will once again throw a “Supa Soca” Labor Day pool/day party. It will be the ultimate Afro-Caribbean throwdown, complete with soca music, hip-hop and R&B jams spinning all day long. 2 pm.

Therapy Lounge will have an all-white, Labor Day party. There will be live music from Angelica, zydeco band Raa-Raa and other special guests. The cover is $10, and it’s BYOB. Don’t worry — there will be hookahs! 2 pm.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Legendary Houston writer's passing, Katy restaurant boom, and spacey new Montrose bar lead week's top stories

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Booming Katy development adds 5 grand new restaurants serving boba, Korean BBQ, giant pizzas, and more. They’ll join a number of destination-worthy tenants including hot pot restaurant HaiDiLao and dim sum favorite Tim Ho Wan.

2. 3 Houston-area counties among the top 10 most expensive to live in Texas, report says. Since these are also some of the state's wealthiest counties, it's also easier to pay those bills.

3. Farewell to John Nova Lomax: Remembering a wise and witty wordsmith and consummate Houstonian. Born to spin a yarn, Lomax deftly and superbly chronicled the weird gumbo that is life in Houston.

4. Dynamic duo behind Nobie's and Toasted Coconut bake up new tavern-style pizza restaurant in Montrose. The pizzeria will serve the Midwestern-style tavern pizza that’s popular in Chicago, the city where the couple met.

Roswell's Saloon HoustonSpace cowgirls and cowboys are welcome at Roswell's Saloon. Photo by Becca Wright

5. Spacey new bar and cosmic cocktail spot from Burger Joint owner blasts off in Montrose. Since all of the lighting is either blacklight or neon, Bermudez made sure all of the floors, walls, and bartops are UV-reactive.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo makes history with election of first female chairman of the board

pat saddles up

In 2022, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo made history by making local rap icon Bun B the first Black headliner from Houston. Now, the venerable institution has made history again with the appointment of its first female chairman of the board.

Pat Mann Phillips, a rodeo life member since 2001, will begin her three-year tenure as chairman of the board starting with the 2024 Rodeo, according to an announcement. She takes over for departing chairman Brady Carruth.

“As the newly elected Chairman of the Board, I am humbled and honored to lead the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and our amazing team of dedicated volunteers,” Phillips tells CultureMap. "Together, we embark on a transformative endeavor to propel our organization to its fullest potential. By breaking new ground and pushing boundaries, we will elevate the rodeo experience to unprecedented heights, capturing the essence of our vibrant community and its unwavering spirit.”

Her first objective, according to the rodeo, will be to collaborate with the executive committee to lead the Rodeo, focusing on its core mission of promoting agriculture and supporting Texas youth and education.

Heralded by peers and staff for her high-energy, positive, genuine, compassionate, and humble nature, Phillips has served on myriad rodeo committees, various committees, including the Corral Club – Suites, Directions & Assistance, Jr. Rodeo, and Special Children's committees.

She was elected to the board of directors in 2012 and rodeo vice president from 2016 to 2018. During her tenure, she oversaw the Transportation, Magazine, Special Children's, Agricultural Education (formerly Ladies' Go Texan), Souvenir Program, and Communications & Special Services committees. She joined the rodeos executive committee in 2018.

Consummately Houston and rodeo, Phillips holds a BBA in Petroleum Land Management and a BBA in Finance from Texas Tech University and boasts more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry. She is currently the executive director of Energy Services for Revenade, a global management consulting firm.

Rodeo is a family affair: She and her husband, Tim Phillips have contributed financially through auction buying groups, season tickets, and donations to the Rodeo's Educational Fund. Tim Phillips, a former chair of the Jr. Rodeo Committee, continues to serve on the Special Children's Committee, per the rodeo.

Pat and Tim Phillips also walk the walk: they own Trinity Spirit Ranch in Field Store, Texas and manage their family ranch in Johnson County, Texas. Pat is also a charter member of Texas Women Venture Fund and a member and former director of Ladies of Texas Tradition, per her bio. She is a mentor and board member in organizations including Amigas Para Niños and the American Association of Professional Landmen.

“Our rich traditions serve as the cornerstone of our mission, and it is my hope that through our collective efforts, we not only preserve these traditions but also ignite a flame of inspiration within others,” Par Phillips says. “I am thrilled to saddle up for this exhilarating journey ahead. Together, we will leave a lasting legacy, inspiring generations to come and making a profound difference in the lives of those we touch.”

Gigantic 50-foot shark dives into Houston museum for jaw-dropping new showcase of Earth's greatest predator

jaw-dropping jaws

By the numbers, the great white shark is one of the most fearsome predators to ever exist on planet Earth. Consider:

Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths HMNS

Photo courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science

Yes, this is actually scale.

  • The largest great white ever recorded spanned 20 feet – half the size of a school bus — and weighed at least 5,000 pounds.
  • At any given moment, great whites possess 300 teeth — measuring up to 6.6 inches — and can regenerate and replace up to 20,000 in a lifetime.
  • Swimming up to 35 miles per hour, a great white can launch itself out of the water like a missile.

But those stats are child's play to the great white's prehistoric predecessor, the megalodon (which literally means "big tooth"), which grew to 65 feet long. Known by scientists and fans as the "Meg," the massive monster will star in Houston Museum of Natural Science's new exhibit Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths.

The immersive shark fest opens Friday, May 26 to members and Saturday, May 27 to the general public. Tickets are available online.

Dive into the shark tank

Meant to educate and inspire awe and curiosity rather than hysteria, the new exhibition features six galleries that include live shark tank, 14 life-sized models, interactive and touchable items, dazzling digital displays, fun photo ops, and meg-sized chunks of information about the ocean's apex predators.

Visitors can meet these fin-tastic friends via a 360-square-foot virtual “shark tank,” where sharks of all shapes and sizes (there are eight different orders and more than 500 species) swim by, showing off their sleek shapes, bioluminescence, and grace.

Meet the monster Meg

A giant, life-sized, 50-foot model of a female megalodon — in full swim pose and jaws that easily down an entire refrigerator or a few humans — wide open in a toothy grin. The megalodon's sheer mass compared to humans, its color (gray to reflect the sea wall with a "great white" belly) will be on display for photos and wow moments.

Another gallery takes viewers back more than 400 million years to the earliest sharks and fossilized shark teeth. Each visitor can select a fossilized tooth dating back to the Miocene era to keep as part of the journey.

Some gentle bamboo and epaulette sharks will join stingrays (cousins of sharks), sea urchins, and a host of other sea dwellers in an easily viewable tank, which will offer an up-close-and-personal perspective as to why these creatures are so essential to the ecosystem.

No excursion would be complete without swag, and this one offers up toys, puzzles, t-shirts, magnets, and more at the Island Store, which also houses megalodon teeth, fossilized coral, and a 100,000-year-old giant fossil clamshell.

Fans of these finned friends

While they have survived every mass extinction event in the past 450 million years and have ruled their water kingdom for some 300,000 years, sharks are now in peril by the worst predator of all: humans. Spurred by bloodlust after the release of the 1975 epic film and novel Jaws and other sensational pop culture vehicles, an average of 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year.

Whether for sport, shark fin soup (where fins are cut off while the shark is cast back still alive and left to drown), scientists worry that this decimation could mean the end for many of these astounding creatures. '

“Sharks are remarkably diverse and efficient predators but are more threatened than threatening. In fact, over one-third of shark species are now facing the threat of extinction,” said Nicole Temple, the exhibit curator. “With this exhibition, we hope that our guests are able to explore the misconceptions, mysteries, and mystique of sharks to help pave the way for conservation efforts, as well as explore their unique adaptations and behaviors that continue to inspire scientific innovation around the world.”

“Sharks are critical to maintaining the health of our oceans, which are a huge carbon sink for the planet,” Temple adds. “Really, sharks help keep us alive.”

Consider this a chance to visit to a monstrous meg, snap a selfie, and say thanks.


Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths opens Friday, May 26 (members) and Saturday, May 27 (general public) at Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. For tickets and more information, visit HMNS online.