Forty-five years ago this week, Neil Armstrong took one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind—and in doing so, set off an era of seemingly infinite possibilities. People can attempt to rekindle that optimism Saturday at Moon Day, a celebration of Armstrong’s touchdown on July 20, 1969, to be held at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Activities include robotics demonstrations, special microscopes that allow viewers to look directly into the sun, and a talk by James L. Carter of the University of Texas at Dallas on how he developed the simulated moon soil that NASA uses in its experiments. But the anniversary of Apollo 11’s achievement is not the only reason to show some love for the moon. This is the summer of the so-called supermoon when the moon is full at the same time as its closest point to Earth, appearing particularly plump and illuminated. A supermoon was seen on July 12, and will be again Aug. 10 and Sept. 9. Use Moon Day as an opportunity to learn more about this phenomenon.
Frontiers of Flight Museum, July 19, 10 a.m., flightmuseum.com
More than a dozen organizations in the United States are dedicated to recreating the fantastical comic operas produced in the Victorian Era by the English duo W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, the subjects of the 1999 movie Topsy-Turvy. This summer, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, formed in 1952, will present the rarely performed The Sorcerer, moving beyond obvious choices for its annual production like H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. Originally staged in 1877, The Sorcerer, a twist-ending tale about the power of love, was the first piece in which Gilbert and Sullivan had total creative control, and it paved the way for the previously mentioned classics. The presentation will be directed by Alistair Donkin, who travels from England every year to head the Houston group’s show and is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on Gilbert and Sullivan.
Wortham Center, July 18–20 and 25–27, gilbertandsullivan.org
Fields of Dreams
Texas’s major-league teams, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, are at the bottom of baseball, so far out of first place in the American League West that their fates are a foregone conclusion. But it is summer, and there is no denying the lure of sunflower seeds and the crack of the bat, so perhaps it is worth looking to the talent of tomorrow at the Youth Baseball Nationals, a traveling tournament that has already made stops in Elizabethtown, Ky., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., and will be played in Beaumont, starting Friday. You can see three weeks’ worth of games, most of them on the diamonds at Ford Park. More than 168 teams are scheduled to play each week, bringing together players ages 9 through 15 who are driven by the chance to play collegiate or maybe even pro ball, but primarily by their love of the game.
Ford Park, July 18 to Aug. 7, baseballnationals.com
Getting a tattoo hurts, so anything to help suppress the pain is usually appreciated. At the Texas Showdown Festival from Friday through Sunday, loud music will act as a salve, whether in the form of intercom filler or live performances by the likes of the Deftones and the Wu-Tang Clan. This three-day affair, which also includes human suspension shows involving hooks and flesh, bills itself as the country’s largest tattoo and music festival, with more than 300 tattoo artists from around the world.
El Paso County Coliseum, July 18–20, texastattooshowdownfestival.com
Bird in the Hand
When the musician Amanda Shires left Lubbock for Nashville in 2008, she was a talented side player—a fiddler for, among others, the Texas Playboys, the legendary backing band for Bob Wills. When she returns home for a tour stop on Wednesday, it will be as an accomplished singer-songwriter with one of the best Americana albums of the year, Down Fell the Doves.
The Blue Light, July 23, 9 p.m., amandashiresmusic.com
Dark and Twisted
Moviegoers who can stomach the mutilated ear and sexual violence in David Lynch’s 1986 film Blue Velvet, to be screened Wednesday, probably have the constitution to handle the rest of “The Complete David Lynch,” the Alamo Drafthouse’s intense exploration of the auteur’s entire oeuvre, including the complete Twin Peaks television series.
Alamo Drafthouse, July 23 to Aug. 31, drafthouse.com