If you just want to display upcoming events (for a sidebar for example) the Event List Block is ideal. Just like the Calendar block you pick a calendar, and filter by topic.
You can configure this block to only display events that have the
is_featured attribute turned on. This will let you keep redundant events like weekly meetings out of a sidebar listing and instead just display events you choose to feature.
The Results section lets you add a title to display above the events, as well as limiting how many events to return in total and how many to display at once before a paging interface is added.