Culture / Entertainment

Houston’s Long-Anticipated Barbecue Fest, Kendrick Lamar and Under-the-Radar Picks Galore

Your Guide to a Jam-Packed Bayou City Weekend

BY // 05.17.18

Editor’s Note: Houston’s weekends are packed full of events, but how many of them are truly worthy of your time? After taking last week off for spring break, PaperCity’s Matthew Ramirez returns to cut through the clutter to give you the best options in this weekly series This is one loaded weekend, so let’s get right to it.

Art – Design – Life

This year marks the first installment of DiverseWork’s Art – Design – Life gala, a unique take on an art sale and exhibit that pivots from DiversWork’s 10-year run of Luck of the Draw auctions that pit potential buyers against each other (in good fun of course). Thursday, May 17, at 7 pm, at MATCH in midtown. Tickets start at $100. For more info, read PaperCity’s in-depth preview here. 

Byrne Time

Julie Byrne has a delicate voice and a subtle pen – while her music seems suited for coffee shops, and is unfortunately relegated to “chill out” playlists on Spotify, there’s so much more. There’s a haunting element to her songwriting that places her in the context of Julien Baker‘s confessionals, Julianna Barwick‘s dreamy acapella vocals, Grouper‘s gauzy theatrics, and Moses Sumney‘s manipulation of voice and space.

She’s found a great foil in touring partner Vagabon, who is equally intimate but translates her songwriting into a guitar-driven, ’90s-inspired indie rock sound. The dream-pop of Houston’s Pearl Crush – an artist who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the artists above – kicks things off. Thursday, May 17, at White Oak Music Hall, with doors opening at 8 pm. Tickets $15.

Do It For the Culture

Black Buddha Creative Art Agency‘s Union gallery off of Washington is the most exciting young gallery in Houston right now, evidenced by its inaugural show spotlighting artist/musician Jajah and its follow-up show, Women in the Arts (featuring some faves of mine, Brittney Anele and Lovie Olivia, smartly curated by Rabea Ballin). Once again, The Union has hit on something exciting and unique: Collect it for the Culture, a group show curated by Robert Hodge, featuring David McGee, Geoff HippenstielDawn Okoro, among many others.

Immediately following the opening of Hodge’s show, monthly Houston hip-hop celebration Bounce and Turn takes over the beautifully restored Union home, featuring DJ Shante and longtime Houston MC/madman Rob Gullatte. Collect it for the Culture is free, and gets underway Friday, May 18, at 6 pm; Bounce and Turn will set you back $10, but included is an open bar featuring Houston brews and crafted cocktails. It gets underway immediately following the opening and goes from 8 pm until 12 am.


  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North
  • Post Oak Hotel - 29 Degrees North

To read more about Black Buddha and its mastermind India Lovejoy, read the story by arts guru Catherine D. Anspon in PaperCity magazine’s May print issue, on newsstands . 

Young, Dumb, and (Not) Broke

When Khalid burst onto the scene with 2016’s pensive ode to romance in the age of Twitter and “drop a pin” texts with “Location,” he defined a teenage generation who never grew up without cellphones and instant access to everything (“I don’t wanna fall in love off a sub-tweet,” he sang, and honestly, same). Even though his 2017 record was literally called American Teen, I was surprised by the maturity and nuance in his songwriting, and his naturally charming voice carries pathos in it far better than many guys who are trying to work in this “throwback R&B” lane.

I’m convinced he’s secretly 25, which is why he’s such a fully formed, genuine talent. He’ll bring the hits to Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre, Friday, May 18, with the show at 8 pm. Tickets start at $39.

The Great Texas Barbecue Fest

The inaugural Great Texas BBQ Festival finally arrives this weekend, a month after being rained out at Sam Houston Park Downtown. As the mercury rises this week, festival-goers can cool off inside Post HTX downtown (aka the former Barbara Jordan Post Office, site of the last two Day For Night festivals), and enjoy music from the legends Wanda Jackson and Morris Day and the Time, as well Dawes, the Old 97s, and local faves like The Suffers, Buxton, and a DJ set from Fistful of Soul.

A lineup of barbecue options (including perennial “best of Houston” award-winners Killen’s) will compete for a $20,000 purse. Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, starting at noon both days and running until 10 pm. Tickets start at $20 per day, or it’s $40 for two-day general admission. Two-day VIP tickets run $150. Kids 10 and under get in free.

Asia High Society

The fourth annual AsiaFest gets underway this Saturday, May 19, at the beautiful Asia Society Texas Center on Caroline. The free festival celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, featuring performances from over a dozen groups, an international bazaar featuring 15 vendors, and more than a dozen food trucks. Groups performing include Bollywood, Hakka Dance, Korean dance, and Chinese folk dancers; along with hands-on activities including how to’s on making parols (Christmas lanterns), uchiwa fans, dynamic Kamishibai storytelling, and much more.

Formore info, click here. AsiaFest kicks off Saturday at 11 am and runs until until 4 pm. And it’s absolutely free.

Bayou Jamboree and Crawfish Fest

Saturday the Bayou Jamboree and Crawfish Boil kicks off at Market Square Park. From 3 pm until 7 pm, Market Square Park Downtown hosts live Cajun music from NOLA Hustlers Brass Band and Bayou Roux, alongside bites from Market Square faves like Niko Niko’s and the delicious cajun fare of Treebeards. Of course, there will be plenty of delicious crawfish and gumbo to go around, along with dancing, lawn games, and a kids corner. Admission is free, but the food will be for sale, starting at two pounds of crawfish for $15.

All the Stars

Kendrick Lamar is seemingly in Houston at least three times a year, and here he is again, with the Championship Tour, a more-than-deserving victory lap for the man who dropped DAMN. last year, easily one of 2017’s best records, and headlined and curated the Black Panther soundtrack, which I secretly enjoy more than DAMN., if only because it has the bonkers California duo SOB x RBE sharing a track with him (also, “King’s Dead”).

The Championship Tour also brings his Top Dawg label mates SZA (whose CTRL was also a top record from 2017), Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul (conspicuously absent is perhaps my favorite member of the TDE crew, the understated southern charmer Isaiah Rashad). Saturday, May 19, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands. Gates open at 6:30 pm, lawn seats start at $44.

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