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Best Bets the Week of December 16-22


Folks, we’re coming right up it once again – National Ugly Sweater Day. It’s this Friday, December 17, so we encourage you to don your favorite ugly Christmas sweater to partake in some on this week’s best bets, many of which are holiday-themed. But don’t worry, there’s also Brazilian film, a sneaker summit, and a reworked fairy tale, so keep reading for the best the city has to offer this week.

click to enlarge Macy Herrera and Holland Vavra in Stages' production of Panto Little Mermaid. - PHOTO BY MELISSA TAYLOR

Macy Herrera and Holland Vavra in Stages’ production of Panto Little Mermaid.

Photo by Melissa Taylor

Pantomime, or panto, is “a form of interactive theatre” usually performed around Christmas which takes “classic fairy tales and zhuzh them up with famous guest stars, topical humor and song parodies.” Families and fans of panto can rejoice this holiday season because Stages is right in the midst of a world premiere run of their latest – Panto Little Mermaid. In ShaWanna Renee Rivon and Elizabeth A.M. Keel’s book, with music and lyrics by David Nehls, our mermaid’s down in Galveston trying to save her ocean home, and in Stages’ production “the cast works their little hearts out to entertain us.” The production continues through December 31 at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Sundays at The Gordy. You can purchase tickets here for $25 to $79.
Spend an evening with everyone’s favorite “neon beast with a stingy heart” on Thursday, December 16, at 7 p.m. at Discovery Green when they screen Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas as part of their free Bank of America’s Screen on the Green series. The 2000 “Technicolor extravaganza” starring Jim Carrey “tells the story of a furry, green beast who dressed as Santa Claus in a bid to scuttle Christmas in the village of Whoville,” but is foiled by the villagers and, in particular, little Cindy Lou Who. Bring blankets and lawn chairs, maybe even plan a picnic, to enjoy Theodor Geisel’s 50-year-old story, with a “feel-good message of kindness over consumerism” that’s made it a classic since the book’s debut in 1957.

On Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m. Ars Lyrica Houston will present a special holiday offering: a “festive stew” of 17th- through 18th-century Spanish music, written by Central and South American and colonial composers. Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte and soprano Camille Ortiz will join the early music ensemble for the live, in-person concert, titled Crossing Borders, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Though this in-person concert is reserved for Ars Lyrica subscribers, there are a limited number of single tickets here for $70. But if miss your chance, the concert will also go on tour to New York, from where it will be livestreamed on Sunday, December 26, at 3 p.m. and then made available to view through January 9. Virtual access can be purchased here for $15.
The 1959 release of Black Orpheus represented “a literal coming-out party for Brazil in the European-American imagination,” a film “beloved at the time of its release, reviled and finally revived by later generations.” Set in Rio de Janeiro, Marcel Camus’s movie is “a retelling of the Hellenic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and a love story where the ill-fated lovers meet during Carnival,” and “the first of only four films ever to win both the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.” The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will screen the film this weekend twice, at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 17, and Saturday, December 18, to complement their current exhibition “Afro-Atlantic Histories.” Tickets are available here for $7 to $9.
Join the Houston Symphony this weekend to enjoy the ultimate holiday playlist – we’re talking classics like “White Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “O Holy Night,” and many more – during Very Merry POPS. Conductor Michael Krajewski will lead the Symphony in the annual holiday concert, which this year features vocalists Rodney Ingram and Peter Theurer, the Houston Symphony Chorus, and, as always, a special appearance by Santa Claus. The concert will be performed at 2:30 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 18, and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, December 19 in-person at Jones Hall. Tickets can be purchased here for $29 to $149. The concert on Saturday night will also be livestreamed, and you can buy video access here for $20.

Following the “overwhelming response” to last year’s Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony, a global livestream broadcast from “a fully restored, English Baroque-style Anglican church” featuring the soprano singing a set of holiday classics, Brightman is now touring the show around the world with a stop at the Smart Financial Centre scheduled for Saturday, December 18, at 7:30 p.m. Brightman says the concert, which will feature an orchestra and choir, will include “a few pieces from Phantom of the Opera,” as well as “fun Christmas songs,” something for those who “want a religious, spiritual experience,” and even those who just “want to listen to some beautiful music which might be solemn.” There are still tickets available here for $69 to the $620 VIP packages.

click to enlarge If you're in need of sneakers, the H-Town Sneaker Summit is where you'll want to be this weekend. - PHOTO BY DOOGIE ROUX

If you’re in need of sneakers, the H-Town Sneaker Summit is where you’ll want to be this weekend.

Photo by Doogie Roux

Back in 1981, New Balance introduced the first sneaker to cost $100, the New Balance 996, a price point that “was seen as revolutionary (and a bit crazy).” If only they knew what was to come. It’s a fact you can lament as you walk through the aisles of the H-Town Sneaker Summit this Sunday, December 19, from 3 to 8 p.m. at NRG Center to buy, sell, trade, and talk kicks. Tickets are available here. It’s $35 for general admission, $25 for a “friends and fam general admission pack” (which is discounted admission for four), or you can do it up big with a $65 VIP ticket. These VIP tickets include line skipping, early entry, a gift bag, and access to a special VIP room.
Perfect for little ones (and their parents) is the Children’s Film Festival over at Asia Society Texas Center from Monday, December 20, to Wednesday, December 22. Screenings include Okko’s Inn, “a perky tale from a former Studio Ghibli animator” about an orphaned child “who gets into the inn-keeping business – with the help of some benevolent phantoms”; Ayumu Watanabe’s Children of the Sea, a “stunning adaptation” of a manga by Daisuke Igarashi with a “splendid attention to detail and seemingly boundless imagination”; and Raya and the Last Dragon, a blend of “imagery and mythology from several Southeast Asian cultures” with “some of the most striking imagery Disney has ever produced.” Admission is free, but registration is required here, where you can also view the full festival lineup.

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