Chronicle critics offer entertainment suggestions

March 1, 2017 GMT

Music scribe: Ostensibly Joe Pug works in the folk/singer-songwriter mold, though his influences aren’t necessarily guys with guitars. Pug is a studied scribe, who cites the likes of Walt Whitman, Raymond Carver, John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy as influences on his music. And while these influences weren’t exactly stage performers, Pug himself is quite good at selling his smart songs with just voice and guitar. His latest, “Windfall,” is a few years old, so he may come to town with something new. 7 p.m. Thursday at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk; $25-$27; 713-528-5999, mcgonigels.com.Andrew DansbyVaried voices: A conscientious new play mini-festival occurs this week at 4th Wall Theatre Company, which is featuring a timely lineup of all-female playwrights and new works. The Women’s Voices reading series features Alley Theatre actors, not to mention an appearance by famed writer Theresa Rebeck, who directs her drama “The Water’s Edge.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday through March 12. Full schedule at 4thwalltheatreco.com/reads; free; 832-786-1849, 4thwalltheatreco.com.Wei-Huan ChenMore than strings: Mark Steinberg, Serena Canin, Misha Amory and Nina Lee make up the highly-praised Brentano String Quartet, who stop by Houston to play one of Bach’s final pieces, the incomplete Art of Fugue BWV 1080 written in the last decade of his life. Call it the composer’s experimental equivalent to Kafka’s “The Castle.” But this isn’t simply a concert. The show features eye-opening staging that involves dancers, light and an elaborate array of strings. 8 p.m. Friday; Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas; $37.50-$67.50; 713-524-5050, dacamera.com.Wei-Huan ChenRabble rouser: Bill Maher is as loathed as he is loved, but perhaps that’s how it should be with topical comedy, where playing the middle is pointless. Maher is enjoying an uptick in buzz of late after he welcomed the controversial media figure Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO show, “Real Time,” just days before Yiannopoulos became culturally toxic for taped comments he’d made on pedophilia. Maher isn’t exactly a bomb-lobber, but he also isn’t known for coddling. He brings his stand-up show to town, presumably with a lot of material from which to draw. 8 p.m. Saturday at the Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington, Sugar Land; $49.50-$95; 281-207-6278, smartfinancialcentre.com.Andrew DansbyOui, oui: France Pavilion, a curated art fair of works by more than 25 European and American artists, fills Winter Street Studios this weekend. Lead curator Sebastien Laboureau and Houston’s Yvonamor Palix have selected a mix of internationally-known and emerging French contemporary artists who work in a wide range of mediums. Many are being exhibited in Houston for the first time. Public hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; 2101 Winter; francepavilion.com. FREEMolly GlentzerDreamy screams: Metal isn’t the easiest genre to update, as many of its fans and practitioners are deeply rooted in the past. But San Francisco’s Deafheaven has found a way to update the form, adding some shoegazing alternative rock influence into a fiery mix that could appeal to both fans of classic metal and bands like My Bloody Valentine that find a dreaminess amid the din. “Sunbather” was a breakthrough album in 2013, which the band followed in 2015 with “New Bermuda.” Kerry McCoy does the guitar demolition, while George Clarke lends his howling voice. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel; $18-$20; 713-225-5483, warehouselive.com.Andrew DansbyNot the blues: Of the two bands to break off from beloved roots rockers Uncle Tupelo, Wilco is typically lauded as the creatively restless act. But Jay Farrar’s Son Volt has hardly been idle since releasing an unforgettable debut in “Trace,” just over 20 years ago. Farrar has offered some roots rock, but he’s also made some experimental recordings as well as one that put a different spin in California country music (“Honky Tonk”). For Son Volt’s new “Notes of Blue,” he uses the blues as a reference point rather than a port. So it’s more bluesy than it is straight blues. 8 p.m. Sunday at the Heights Theater, 339 W. 19th; $20; theheightstheater.com.Andrew DansbyWicked stepbros?: Ready to lose yourself in a tender fairy tale? Stanton Welch’s “Cinderella” gives us an independent-minded heroine who values love over possessions, and more than one man who appreciates her. Those dastardly stepsisters - portrayed by men - have to dance in point shoes, which is its own kind of punishment. Kristian Frederikson’s stunning sets and costumes reflect the grandeur of a society driven by vanity. With Sergei Prokofiev’s lush score and a stage full of exceptionally-talented dancers, we’re all in. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; additional performances through March 12; $25-$195; Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas; 713-227-2787, houstonballet.org.Molly Glentzer