Houstonians love good movies and good books, and not just because a biological imperative mandates that we lounge in air-conditioned rooms as often as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your fix this year. Alamo Drafthouse at La Centerra is now open in Katy, and if that’s not enough, another location, at Sugar Land’s Imperial Market, is set to join Mason Park and La Centerra in about a year. Major film festivals returning to Houston include the Houston Cinema Arts Festival in November, the ReelAbilities Film Festival in February, the Houston Jewish Film Festival in March and WorldFest-Houston in April. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has multiple films series scheduled this year, including “Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema: A Centennial,” the Manhattan Short Film Festival, Turkish Film Festival, Iranian Film Festival and Five Funny French Films.
In September Aurora Picture Show will join forces with Frame Dance and Houston Ballet for the Frame x Frame Dance Film Fest. 14 Pews will also begin a monthly film series in September examining death and dying in the United States, curated by Dr. Anthony Pinn, a professor and the director of Religious Studies at Rice University. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Historic Market Square Park and Discovery Green will all screen films outdoors. But if you like to experience nature secondhand, Society for the Performing Arts welcomes extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith to the Wortham Center on February 2.
Speaking of SPA, the organization also welcomes Dr. Kara Cooney for National Geographic LIVE! When Women Ruled the World; sports legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Radiolab host Jad Abumrad; and, in perhaps the biggest coup of the season, Margaret Atwood.
Nell Scovell, the author of Just the Funny Parts: …And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club, kicks off the Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Festival in November, which will also include a community read with author Rachel Kadish and a live recording of Tablet magazine’s Unorthodox podcast.
Over at Brazos Bookstore the calendar is full, with the indie bookseller set to play host to a number of authors, including activist and Pod Save the People host DeRay Mckesson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, and technology journalist Cyrus Farivar.
Blue Willow Bookshop welcomes an eclectic lineup to its store, including former secretary of state John Kerry, Instagram poet Atticus and Markus Zusak, who’s reading from his first novel in 12 years.
The Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series once again brings an impressive array of authors to Houston, including Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Lethem and Tayari Jones. Inprint will also continue to host the First Friday Reading Series, with poets like Varsha Saraiya-Shah, Outspoken Bean and Julianne Tran scheduled to take the mike at the oldest poetry series in Houston.
Jhumpa Lahiri, one of last year’s Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series guests, once wrote that books “let you travel without moving your feet.” If that’s the case, get ready to go around the world without leaving the city limits.