With a limited number of shopping days until Christmas, Houston is in full holiday swing. That means plenty of holiday-themed events around town (check out our list here) and fun for the family (we also have a roundup here).
This weekend sees celebrations of solstice, time-honored faith traditions, and the spectacle of The Nutcracker at Houston Ballet. Plenty of art offerings will be showcased around town, Sunday becomes Funday at favorite brewery, and movie night at the MFAH means it’s time to “shut yo’ mouth” and watch a cool private eye.
Enjoy; here are you best bets for the weekend.
Thursday, December 15
Fresh Arts presents FRESHtivus
In the spirit of the season, Fresh Arts will be hosting a blast-from-the past holiday party/pop-up market with some of their favorite Winter Holiday Art Market artists, plus some of their newer artist friends. They will be serving a special charity cocktail — the FRESHtini — created by the bartenders of Space Cowboy. A portion of proceeds from each cocktail purchase will be donated back to Fresh Arts for the whole month of December. 6 pm.
Laura Rathe Fine Art presents “SuperSpectra” opening reception
Laura Rathe Fine Art presents this year-end group exhibition, featuring a collection of new works from over 30 artists. Over the course of the past year, the artists featured in the exhibition have illuminated viewers through various bodies of work differing in use of color, material and style to produce an incredibly immersive environment. This exhibition is a culmination of new works that inventively redefine the use of color to transform the visual experience, inspiring a superspectra to all who see them. Through Thursday, January 12. 6 pm.
The second feature film from director/photographer Gordon Parks helped to launch the blaxploitation genre. Private eye John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) finds himself in the midst of a turf war between rival gangs when he is hired to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Harlem mob boss (Moses Gunn). DJ/ethnomusicologist Flash Gordon Parks will introduce the film and take part in a post-film discussion about the soundtrack with Peter Lucas, guest programmer of the MFAH “Jazz on Film” series. 7 pm.
Friday, December 16
Revels Houston presents Christmas Revels: “Keep Magick!” A Seventeenth Century English Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Enjoy beautiful music, lively dancing, and a Mummers’ Play all of the elements that make for a “magickal” Christmas Revels! Young Noah Stewart, while on a tour of the Tower of London with his family, wishes to be “anywhere else but here right now” and is instantly and magically transported to the 17th-Century Tower of London, where he encounters the Christmas and Winter Solstice celebrations of those imprisoned in the Tower — and where he learns valuable life lessons as well. 7:30 pm (2:30 & 7:30 pm Saturday; 1:30 and 5:30 pm Sunday).
Levy Park and Texas Children’s Hospital Present Family Movie Night: The Grinch
Levy Park will present an outdoor screening of the classic 2018 holiday film – which is, let’s face it, far better and less disturbing than that one starring Jim Carrey. In this animated version, the Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) attempts to undermine the annual Christmas celebration at Whoville with the help of his loyal dog and reindeer. Disguised as Santa Claus, he tries to steal all the presents, but his cover is threatened by an earnest young girl. 7 pm.
Houston Ballet presents The Nutcracker
The ultimate holiday tradition returns with all of the grandeur that audiences love about Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker. The grand sets. The stunning costumes. The iconic score. Clara and Drosselmeyer go on a journey to the Kingdom of Sweets and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and her prince, in the land where the real magic happens. One of the most splendid pieces ever staged features hundreds of roles and exquisite details that will leave you finding something new in every performance. 7:30 pm (2 & 7:30 pm Saturday; 1 and 6:30 pm Sunday).
Moore Vision Entertainment presents Seussical the Musical
Moore Vision Entertainment will kick the holidays off with a musical journey that brings together all of Seuss’s beloved characters. It follows the adventures of Horton the Elephant, who must protect his friends in the invisible world of Whos from the naysayers of the Jungle of Nool. He is also entrusted with the task of guarding the abandoned egg of Amazing Mayzie. The powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant in this story. 7:30 pm (2:30 & 7:30 pm Saturday; 2:30 pm Sunday).
Saturday, December 17
Christ the King Lutheran Church presents Crafting Tradition: A Creche Festival
Nativities from around the world have found their way into gift markets and private homes as people seek to connect with the authenticity and tradition represented by Indigenous folk arts. This two-day exhibition of nativities represents the artistry by individuals, families, and community workshops utilizing various mediums (including clay, wood, paper, and textile) to craft a generational tradition of creating crèche art. Guests can see the nativities and learn the stories of the artists whose crafts have been emboldened through the art of the crèche. 9 am.
TerrorFest: A Christmas Horror Convention
At this two-day, Christmas-themed horror convention show, guests will have a chance to meet special cult classic guests like Robert Mukes (House of 1000 Corpses), Peggy Miley (Stranger Things), and Oliver Robins (Poltergeist), as well as Battle of the Bands music judges David Ellefson (Megadeth), Richie Ramone (The Ramones), and Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath & Dio). They can also act in a real film with celebrities, participate in costume contests, and visit escape rooms, haunted houses, Christmas-themed Horror Photo booths, and a gaming room. 10 am.
Houston Show Choir presents 90th Anniversary Holiday Show
Wanna see something surprisingly wild this holiday season? Houston Show Choir presents their 90th anniversary holiday show by racing against the clock to sing 90 songs in under 90 minutes. They will be performing a mix that includes holiday favorites, show tunes, Pentatonix, Elvis, Mariah Carey, Nightmare Before Christmas, and more. This will either be an energetic holiday experience – or one beautiful trainwreck. Either way, you’ll have two chances to see it happen. 2:30 & 7:30 pm.
DiverseWorks presents Little Central America, 1984
DiverseWorks presents this live performance, written and performed by Elia Arce and Rubén Martínez, that explores the origin story of the “Little Central Americas” established across the United States as a result of the civil wars of the 1980s. The performance brings together poetry, live music, and testimonials recreating the era when the conflicts in Guatemala and El Salvador displaced over one million people and spawned transnational solidarity through the Sanctuary Movement. 7 pm (1:30 pm Sunday).
Sunday, December 18
Happening every third Sunday of the month at Eureka Heights Brewery, this monthly pop culture event will feature revolving themes each month. This month’s theme is Last (Minute) Christmas. There will be toy and art vendors, beer, movies playing on a huge screen, food trucks, the occasional special guest and of course, fellowship with friends. Bring your own stuff to sell and trade with the vendors and with each other. This is a family friendly indoor/ covered event, and parking and admission is free. 11 am.
Chris Isaak in concert
Has there ever been a more handsome dispenser of old-school pop melodies than Chris Isaak? When he isn’t doing bit roles in movies (David Lynch, John Waters, and the late Jonathan Demme have put him in films), the man has been hitting audiences with smoldering rock ditties for over 35 years. It turns out the same guy who gave us “Wicked Game” has also dropped several holiday albums. And, now, he’s out on tour playing tunes from his latest Christmas album, Everybody Knows It’s Christmas. 7 pm.
Improv Houston presents Nemr
Nemr Abou Nassar is a Lebanese/American comedian credited with establishing and pioneering the stand-up comedy scene throughout the Middle East,where he performs in English. Nemr grew up in San Diego and then moved back with his family to Lebanon (where he recorded his latest stand-up special, Love Isn’t the Answer, available on YouTube). He went on to break down barriers and unite people in a region where bombing on stage can have a completely different meaning. 7:30 pm.