Multi-talented R&B singer/dancer/heartthrob Usher broke through in 1997 with his album My Way, featuring the prom-friendly jam “Nice and Slow,” and has gone on to become one of the industry’s most consistent hit makers, with recent singles “OMG,” “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love,” and “Climax” all topping charts and earning FM radio ubiquity. He’s touring in support of his new album, which features collaborations with Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Pharrell. This weekend’s concert features special guests August Alsina and DJ Cassidy.
Dec 5 at 7:30. $35–150. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St. 866-446-8849. houstontoyotacenter.com
Bayou City Music and Film Festival
Cressandra Thibodeaux, who runs the Heights-area film-and-performance space known as 14 Pews, has made the theremin the focus of the second annual Bayou City Music and Film Festival, a three-day event with a lineup including performances by theremin virtuosos Thomas Grillo, Rob Schwimmer, Dorit Chrysler, and Armen Ra, the last of whom is the subject of a documentary screening at the fest.
Dec 4–6. $15 per event. 14 Pews, 800 Aurora St. 281-888-9677. 14pews.org
As anyone who’s visited knows, the Brits are miles ahead of us when it comes to cheeky, creative, and often risqué televisions ads. Since 1976, the British Arrows Awards have celebrated the best spots of the year in such categories as “Confectionery and Snacks,” “Household Soaps, Detergents, and Toiletries,” and, of course, “Alcoholic Drinks.” The winners are compiled into a 90-minute film that screens in cinemas around the world.
Dec 5 & 6 at 7. Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. 713-639-7300. mfah.org/films
Jubilee of Dance
Sure, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is a perennial family favorite, and an indispensable cash cow for ballet companies, but this year why not trade the Sugar Plum Fairy for Houston Ballet’s annual Jubilee of Dance? It’s a one-night-only concert showcasing the company’s best work past and present, and this year the program is stellar. Guest ballerina Julie Kent of New York’s American Ballet Theater dances the lead in artistic director Stanton Welch’s 2001 ballet Clear, and the entire company, 55-strong, performs Welch’s staging of Ravel’s Bolero.
Dec 5 at 7. $50–140. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas Ave. 800-828-2787. houstonballet.org
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Founded in St. Louis in 1925 as The Missouri Rockets, the world-famous dance troupe now known as the Rockettes moved to New York’s Radio City Music Hall in 1932 and has been performing precision high-kick shows there ever since. But you don’t have to fly to Manhattan to see them this year—18 members of the 120-dancer company are performing their signature show, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, at the Hobby Center all month long. In addition to the classic choreography, the show includes five brand-new numbers.
Dec 5–28. $35–175. Sarofim Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-558-8887. tuts.com