Houston Cinema Arts Festival
Although it was founded in 2008 as a film festival devoted to movies by and about artists, the HCAF has evolved into an all-purpose, five-day festival. This year features almost 50 films, including retrospectives of arthouse favorite James Ivory and avant-garde pioneer Ken Jacobs, along with screenings of The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as British mathematician Alan Turing (above), James Franco's adaptation of The Sound and the Fury, and Julie Taymor's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Nov 12–16. Individual tickets $10–25; passes $80–600. Check website for schedule and venues. 713-429-0420. houstoncinemaartsfestival.org
Bach and Sons: At the Café
Anyone tempted to doubt the power of genetics will likely have their mind changed by this concert, which features works by three members of the virtuosic Bach family—paterfamilias Johann Sebastian Bach's "Coffee Cantata," an ode by his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and a cantata by his younger son Friedrich. (The extended Bach family is estimated to have included around 70 professional musicians between the 16th and 18th centuries.) The concert is part of Ars Lyrica's season-long tribute to the Bach clan.
Nov 14 at 7:30. $36–57. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-315-2525. arslyricahouston.org
The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres
Commemorating Galileo's first public demonstration of the telescope, this multimedia concert by Canadian Baroque ensemble Tafelmusik celebrates the marriage of art and science with works by Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Bach, and Hande, accompanied by narration and high-definition images from the Hubble telescope.
Nov 13 (Thursday) at 8. $30–65. Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-524-5050. dacamera.com
Before he became famous as a dyspeptic, spittle-spewing stand-up comic, Black enjoyed a long run in theater—he earned an MFA from Yale, served as playwright in residence at an Off-Broadway theater, and even wrote a musical, The Czar of Rock and Roll, that premiered at the Alley Theatre in Houston in 1990 and enjoyed a one-night New York revival a few years ago. Now, of course, he's best known for his stream-of-consciousness riffing on current events, pop culture, and the general calamity of modern life.
Nov 14 at 8. $39.50–59.50. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas Ave. 713-230-1600. bayoumusiccenter.com
Hänsel und Gretel
This beloved opera, loosely based on the Grimm brothers' fairy tale about the eponymous brother and sister, was itself created by a brother-sister duo, German composer Engelbert Humperdinck and his sister, librettist Adelheid. Richard Strauss conducted the work's world premiere in Weimar in 1893, where its synthesis of German folk music and Wagnerian leitmotifs won immediate and enduring acclaim.
Nov 14–23. $13–63. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. 713-861-5303. operaintheheights.org