Go be the fool on the hill, hear some classical music

  • IF YOU GO

    What: The ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights

    When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

    Where: Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive, Houston

    Cost: Free. Tickets for free seats are distributed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the day ...

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  • IF YOU GO

    What: The ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights

    When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

    Where: Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive, Houston

    Cost: Free. Tickets for free seats are distributed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the day of the concert at the box office

    Go to www.milleroutdoortheatre.com for more information

    What: "George Gittoes: Witness to War"

    When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday

    Where: 1502 Alabama St., Houston

    Cost: Free

    What: "The Book of Grace"

    When: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday

    Where: 1510 Toomey Road, Austin

    Cost: $39

    What: "Ancient Ukraine - Golden Treasures and Lost Civilizations"

    When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday through Sept. 5.

    Where: Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston

    Cost: $12-$18

If you've ever put on your fancy clothes and settled into one of those scarlet velvet chairs to hear the Houston Symphony, you know just how awesome a night with one of the country's finest symphony orchestras can be.

I know, I know, some people balk at the thought of taking in a little classical music. It seems too formal, to fancy clothed, to high fallutin' for them.

Well, if that's the way you've always thought, you've got another thing coming. The Houston Symphony is playing - for free - at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston this weekend, and you ought to go see them.

Not because it's the cultural incarnation of spinach or anything lame like that. Just because, when you take away what people assume about classical music, you're left with an evening of entertainment that has been making people tap their toes since composers got excited about writing for orchestras.

If you've never taken in a night of classical music before, the ExxonMobil Summer Symphony Nights is a great way to ease into that wide world.

It's a relaxed atmosphere, one where you can show up in shorts.

They tend to play crowd pleasing favorites. This weekend will feature a little Mozart and Dvorak on Saturday and Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 5 on Sunday.

The tickets for the seated sections are distributed at the box office the day of the concert.

No worries if you don't manage to finagle a ticket - bring a blanket and spread it on the hill and you can sprawl on the grass and just let the music come to you. A fine time to be had for all.