Thru Jan. 6 | Avenida Houston
Seven interactive art pods have landed downtown for your holiday enjoyment. Basically, each LOOP pod takes shape as a six-foot, light-up cylinder where you pump a hand lever to trigger spiraling "fairy-tale loops" of black-and-white images. The result, as organizers put it, is a cross "between a music box, a zoetrope and a railway handcar." We're sold.
Free. The Plaza in Avenida Houston (between Rusk and Polk Streets). More info at avenidahouston.com.
Dec. 7 | W. 19th Street
The holiday markets have truly reached a fever pitch, but the cutesy strip of small businesses hugging W. 19th is going all out with special deals, live music, drinks, and, per the event description, "REAL SNOW!!" Torrential rain might be in the forecast for Friday, but this shindig will go on rain or shine.
Free. W. 19th Street. More info via Facebook.
Dec. 8 | The Menil Collection
Frank Bowling’s arresting Middle Passage sits dead center in the entryway of the newly revamped Menil Collection, where it is on display for the first time ever. On Saturday, the Da Camera Young Artists present of program of chamber music in conversation with the work's subject matter that grapples with slavery, family, and contemporary art history.
Free. 1533 Sul Ross St. 713-524-5050. More info at dacamera.com.
Dec. 8–9 | Toyota Center
We're not always proponents of blowing your cash on an arena concert in the Toyota Center's questionable acoustic environment, but this is your last chance to see Rocket Man before he lifts off out forever. Seems pretty worth it to us.
Tickets from $59.50. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St. 866-446-8849. More info and tickets at houstontoyotacenter.com.
Dec. 8–23 | Theatre Under the Stars
A quarter century after Disney piloted its first Broadway production right here in Houston, the blockbuster hit returns to TUTS. Read our story on the history of the production that includes an interview with Susan Egan—the original Belle, as well as the voice of Megara in Hercules.
Tickets from $43.50. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-558-2600. More info and tickets at tuts.com.