Fall Arts Guide 2022

The Ultimate Guide to Houston's Arts and Entertainment Scene This Fall

A guide to all things arts and entertainment this fall.

By Amarie Gipson With Chris Gray Published in the Fall 2022 issue of Houstonia Magazine


Six runs Nov 8–20 at Hobby Center. Image: Joan Marcus.

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Theater / Dance / Opera / Visual Art / Live Music
Comedy / Film / BooksFamily


As Houston rises in its status as a world-renowned hub for all things culture, the arts and entertainment scene continue to expand. This fall welcomes a slew of concerts, comedy shows, art exhibitions and then some. Pick you poison and start planning your fall with these handpicked highlights below.

More features from our Fall Arts Guide:


Theater

Seascape

Oct 14–Nov 13 | Alley Theatre, $51

A walk on the beach sparks a fateful encounter when a middle-aged couple debating how to spend their retirement meets another couple emerging from the ocean in Edward Albee’s Seascape. The American theatrical titan and longtime University of Houston professor’s trenchant meditation on marriage and humanity won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 

Coyote on a Fence

Oct 21–Nov 5 | MATCH, $30

Pennsylvania-based playwright Bruce Graham’s 1997 prison drama considers the relationship between two death row inmates: one a charismatic white supremacist, the other a well-educated jailhouse scribe whose eloquent obituaries for his fellow prisoners draw national attention. The play was produced by Dirt Dogs Theatre Co. and inspired by a Texas inmate with whom Graham corresponded. 

Six runs Nov 8–20 at Hobby Center.

Image: Joan Marcus

Six

Nov 8–Nov 20 | The Hobby Center

“Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived.” Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s script-flipping, Tony-winning musical turns the wives of England’s King Henry VIII—whose collective fate could best be described as “unfortunate”—into a sextet of fabulous divas who recount their lives at court through a filter of Beyoncé, Adele, Alicia Keys, and many other modern pop stars.

 

Dance 

Mapping & Glaciers

Sept 16–25 | MATCH, $35 (suggested)

Climate change and human nature weigh heavily in Karen Stokes Dance Company’s reflection on power, boundaries, and resilience. Stokes’s choreography combines with film and music by Austin-based multimedia composer Sam Lipman, who co-scored Richard Linklater’s 2019 film Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Good Vibrations

Sept 22–Oct 2 | Houston Ballet | Wortham Center, from $25

The titular Beach Boys classic, as interpreted by composer Christopher Austin, threads through the company debut of internationally acclaimed choreographer Arthur Pita. The program also includes Red Earth, Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch’s meditation on his native Australia, and Mark Morris’s The Letter V, set to Haydn’s Symphony No. 88 in G Major. 



Opera

The Wreckers

Oct 28–Nov 11 | Houston Grand Opera | Wortham Center, from $20

Never before staged by a major American opera company, Houston Grand Opera’s production of British suffragist/composer Dame Ethel Smyth’s 1906 opera stars Houstonian mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as a mysterious woman in conflict with her Welsh coastal community, which derives its income from plundering the ships that run aground on the jagged rocks. 

 

Visual Art

Mackenzie Thorpe: A World of Love

Through Sept 24 | Off the Wall Gallery, free

Swollen hearts and mile-wide grins are recurring images for the internationally acclaimed native of Middlesbrough, England. The Yorkshire city’s famous Transporter Bridge has surfaced in a painting or two of his, as has a sculpture at the bridge’s base. JK Rowling, Tom Hardy, and Her Late Majesty the Queen all count at least one Thorpe in their collections.

Installation view of Samuel Fosso: African Spirits at the Menil Collection, Houston.

Image: Paul Hester

Samuel Fosso: African Spirits  Editor's Pick

Through Jan 15 | Menil, free

Known for his provocative and stylized self-portraits, Cameroonian-Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso is the subject of a major solo exhibition featuring 14 large-scale portraits completed in 2008. The artist pictures himself as prominent figures from the 20th-century Black liberation movement, including Angela Davis, Kwame Nkrumah, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Jenelle Esparza and Verónica Gaona: Sites of Memory

Sept 23–Nov 5 | MATCH, free

Part of Diverseworks’ Overlapping Territories initiative, this joint exhibition by San Antonio–based Esparza and Houstonian Gaona uses objects, land-based materials, and guided research as interdisciplinary means to consider migration, family legacy, transnationality, migratory labor, and, says the website, “ideas relating to rest.” 

If I Had A Hammer: FotoFest Biennial 2022  Editor's Pick

Sept 24–Nov 6 | Silver Street, Winter Street, and Spring Street Studios, free

FotoFest is the Houston-based organization behind one of the most important photography biennials in the nation. Organized by FotoFest’s Steven Evans and Max Fields with Amy Sadao, this year’s edition features works by 23 multidisciplinary artists and will include newly commissioned works by five participating artists.

Round 54: Southern Survey Biennial  Editor's Pick

Oct 8–Feb 12 | Project Row Houses

The first of its kind in Houston, Project Row Houses’ Southern Survey Biennial will be guest curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver. The exhibition will feature artists from around the US South and is slated to open this October ahead of the organization’s 30th-anniversary celebration in 2023. 

Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power   Editor's Pick

Oct 16–Jan 16 | Museum of Fine Arts, from $19 (non-members)

Gordon Parks—one of the most prolific documentary photographers of the 20th century— will take the spotlight this fall at the MFAH. This exhibition features never-before-seen photographs and footage of Black Power leader Stokely Carmichael, profiled by Parks in 1967 for Life magazine. The show was organized in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation and will offer timely insight into the controversial activist and his struggle toward Black liberation. 

Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS, installation view,  SculptureCenter, New York, 2021.

Diane Severin Nguyen: IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS   Editor's Pick

Oct 28–Feb 26 | Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, free

LA-based artist Diane Severin Nguyen is mounting her first solo museum exhibition in Houston. The show takes its title from an 18-minute video installation and will include a series of photographs that explore the cultural exchange between Eastern Europe and Asia through K-pop.

 

Live Music

ZZ Top

   Editor's Pick

Sept 25 | Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, from $22

The Lil’ Ol’ Band from Texas hardly stopped touring after bassist Dusty Hill’s July 2021 death—he told them himself that the show must go on, with longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis holding down the low end—but the trio’s patented Space City boogie rolls on to a bittersweet homecoming gig with special guests Jeff Beck and Heart vocalist Ann Wilson.

Rosalía: Motomami World Tour   Editor's Pick

Oct 12, 8:30 p.m. | 713 Music Hall, from $73.50

International pop sensation Rosalía is on the road for her third stadium tour to support her album Motomami. She’s gone viral on TikTok for her expressive dance moves, so this is a show you won’t want to miss.

Steve Lacy  Editor's Pick

Oct 25, 8 p.m. | Warehouse Live, SOLD OUT

Indie pop and R&B collide in the sound of Steve Lacy. The guitarist is on tour to support the release of his highly anticipated album Gemini Rights, featuring the viral single “Bad Habit.”

Lizzo performs at Toyota Center on Oct 26.

Image: AB+DM

Lizzo

Oct 26, 8 p.m. | Toyota Center, from $39.50

Just imagine the reception when the Houston-reared rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, flautist, cover model, TV star, body-positivity advocate—the list goes on—greets an adoring arena-size crowd in her semi-adopted hometown. Replete with humor and hooks, her latest album Special offers proof that Lizzo’s elevation to superstar status after 2019’s Cuz I Luv You was no fluke.

The Millennium Tour: Turned Up!

   Editor's Pick

Oct 29, 8 p.m. | Smart Financial Centre, from $69.50

Y2K fans are in store for a treat. The Millennium Tour is back on the road featuring hip-hop and R&B’s biggest artists from the early 2000s, including Bow Wow, Lloyd, Mario, Ying Yang Twins, Keri Hilson, and many more.

Beabadoobee   Editor's Pick

Nov 6, 7 p.m. | White Oak Music Hall, from $25

Filipino-British alt-pop artist Beabadoobee is coming to Houston to share hits from her recently released album Beatopia.

Chaka Khan   Editor's Pick

Nov 11, 8:30 p.m. | Arena Theatre, from $49

Aunties and uncles, unite. The Queen of Funk, Chaka Khan, is ready to rock with a special performance of her hit songs “Ain’t Nobody,” “I Feel for You,” and more. She’s been an icon since her debut in the late 1970s with a timeless, smooth, soul-pop sound. 

 

Comedy

Katt Williams

Sept 23, 8 p.m. | NRG Arena, from $59

From unforgettable screen appearances in Friday After Next and Atlanta—for which he won an Emmy—to the litany of stand-up specials that have honed his bristling routines to a razor’s edge, the 50-year-old Cincinnati native is as unpredictable as he is hilarious. “Even in his funniest moments,” wrote Jason Zinoman in the New York Times, “he has an intensity that makes comedy dramatic.”

Chris Rock

Nov 5–6 | Smart Financial Centre, from $49.50

He probably won’t talk about The Slap—although as he once said on Bring the Pain, you never know—but the caustic SNL veteran has plenty of other things to discuss on his Ego Death tour: the Capitol riot, corporate virtue-signaling, and Meghan Markle, as well as more evergreen topics like raising spoiled kids in his 50s. 

 

Film

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Sept 4, 5 & 8 | Various, from $13.53

Many fans maintain that Gene Roddenberry’s expansive space-faring franchise reached its high-water mark with this 1982 adventure pitting original Captain Kirk William Shatner’s crew against TV series foe Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban), leading to a scenery-chomping showdown for the ages. Presented with additional footage by TCM Big Screen Classics. 

Bechdel Film Festival  Editor's Pick

Oct 14–16 | Various

Bechdel Film’s annual festival promotes the work of female filmmakers. This year’s categories include a spotlight on Texas filmmakers, shorts, and music documentaries, all directed, produced, written, edited, or co-directed by women. 

Houston Cinema Arts Festival  Editor's Pick

Nov 10–17 | Various

Dubbed one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world by MovieMaker magazine, Houston Cinema Arts Festival returns for its 14th year. In collaboration with NASA, CineSpace will make a comeback alongside the new Borders | No Borders short competition and a host of in-person and online programs. 

Thunder Soul

Nov 19, 6:30 p.m. | Miller Outdoor Theatre, Free

Presented by Jamie Foxx, Mark Landsman’s uplifting and funky 2010 film documents the reunion of Kashmere High School stage band members in honor of their elderly director, Conrad “Prof” Johnson. Witness how quickly the rusty musicians snap back to their international competition-winning form.

La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Film Festival

   Editor's Pick

Dec 2–4

Short films and plays by local Latinx filmmakers are the focus of the La Vida Es Cortos Film Festival. For its third year, the lineup will feature dance, theater, and other performances.

 

Books

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell

Oct 10, 7:30 p.m. | Cullen Performance Hall, University of Houston, $30

Author of the eerily prescient 2020 best seller Hamnet (soon to be a film from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment), Northern Ireland–born O’Farrell will discuss her latest novel, The Marriage Portrait—which charts a Medici duchess’s uneasy marriage and intrigue in 16th-century Florence—with former Houston Chronicle book editor Maggie Galehouse. 

 

Family

Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo

Sept 22–Oct 2 | Fort Bend County Fairgrounds, season passes are $40, $15 at gate for adults, $5 children (free admission for children 5 & under)

The Houston area’s fastest-growing, most diverse county is also host to the most down-home county fair in Texas. This year’s festivities will feature a parade, a carnival, a livestock show, a rodeo, a BBQ cookoff, and yee-haw entertainers like Kevin Fowler and Shenandoah. Kids can compete in mutton bustin’ or the children’s tractor pull, while Grapes on the Brazos offers a wine-bar oasis for parents.

Zoo Boo

Oct 1–31 | Houston Zoo, prices vary

All month long, the Houston Zoo invites visitors to have a scary good time with various Halloween-themed activities, including the Spooky Train Village, a Friendly Dragon, and the Scary-Go-Round (a.k.a. the zoo’s Wildlife Carousel), plus tons of photo ops and a weekly digital costume contest. Note: Avoid toy weapons on those costumes; no guns, no swords. 

Galveston Oktoberfest

Oct 21–22 | Downtown Galveston, free

While grown-ups observe the tapping of the keg and sample more than a dozen varieties of suds (including St. Arnold’s and Karbach’s finest), little ones can explore a plethora of activities at the 40th edition of the island’s premier fall festival: a mechanical bull, an inflatable obstacle course, life-size Hungry Hungry Hippos, and more. Dress German if you dare; everyone is welcome at Saturday’s chicken-dance contest.

Disney Princess: The Concert

Oct 23, 3 p.m. | Smart Financial Centre, from $39.50

From Cinderella, Elsa, and Anna to Jasmine and Moana, save yourself who knows how much time scrolling through Disney+ titles with this decade-spanning two-hour buffet of empowerment anthems and swooning ballads by the well-trained voices of Christy Altomare, Susan Egan, Isabelle McCalla, and Syndee Winters. Costumes encouraged.

Puptopia

Nov 5, 10 a.m. | Discovery Green, $30

Described as “Disney World for dogs,” this first-time expo packs dozens of canine-related experiences and services into one day, including stunt shows, flyball racing, an agility course, and some real woofer puns—the Pawground photo-op area and SPAW pup-pampering spot, to name two.

 

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