Songs of My People Later in the week, the Museum of Fine Arts will open an exhibition of more than 150 photographs by 53 of our finest African-American photographers; tonight, you can get a sneak peek at the works and hear a lecture by photographer, author and filmmaker Gordon Parks. Parks will talk on his career and the exhibition, "Songs of My People." Michael Cheers, also a photographer, author and filmmaker and one of the architects of the exhibition, will introduce Parks and offer some opening remarks.
The exhibition is a chronicle of the mind and spirit of contemporary black America and is full of surprises. A photo of a young Muslim girl might be expected, but a young Muslim girl holding a Cabbage Patch Doll? The gentle portrait of a father rocking his daughter before the hearth was taken not on some farm, but in San Francisco. Allison Leland Brisco and Houston Ballet dancer Sandra Organ are among the subjects photographed, and the works of two local shooters -- Geary Broadnax and Morris Richardson -- are featured. Parks and Cheers speak at 7 p.m. in the Brown Auditorium -- seating is first come, first served. Exhibition Aug. 28- Nov. 20. Regular museum hours: Tue.- Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thu., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 12:15-6 p.m. Sculpture garden open daily, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. $3; $1.50 students, children 6-18 & seniors; free to children under 5 & museum members, and on Thursdays. 1001 Bissonnet, 639-7300.
Poison Amore: A Collaborative Installation by Terry Allen and James Drake There is some plinky string music and then he says, "A waitress asked me what I did. I told her I tried to make art. She asked me if I made any money. I said, no, I have to teach to do that. She asked me what I taught, and where. I told her. She told me she liked art, but that she couldn't draw a straight line. I told her if she could reach for something and pick it up, she could draw a line that was straight enough. She said she wasn't interested in that kind of drawing, but had always liked horses. I said I did too, but they are hard to draw. She said, yes, that was very true. She said she could do the body okay, but never get the head, tail or legs. I told her she was drawing sausages, not horses. She said, no, they were horses." And then there is some more strumming and Terry Allen has said all anyone ever needs to say about art.
There is no way to make anyone go to their reception and gallery talk, but the exhibition runs until October 9. Anyone who doesn't go see their art while it's in town was not raised right. Opening reception 6-9 p.m. Gallery hours Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 1-5 p.m. Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, Entrance No.16 off Cullen, 743-9530.
Ten by Ten Once again, it's time for the popular Ten by Ten showcase of home-grown talent. Ten new ten-minute plays by Texas playwrights will be produced for three performances only.
Nine of the winners of the Scriptwriters Houston contest are from the old hometown, while one is from Austin. There's no way you can go wrong on a night like this -- even the most horrible theater can be endured for ten minutes. Not that any of these are horrible ... in fact, How to Conduct Yourself at a Meeting by Mary Ellen Whitworth looks quite promising. The other titles indicate this will be an evening of variety. Lee Charles' All My Wars could be exciting, perhaps even violent.
There will be a matinee of Ten by Ten Saturday at 2 p.m. Evening performances tonight and tomorrow 8 p.m. Stages, 3201 Allen Parkway, 486-5565. $10, matinee $5.
Narrative Paintings The senior citizens at the Harbach-Ripley Facility present works they have created. The artists will be present at the opening reception. At 2 p.m. project coordinator Beth Secor will give a brief talk, explain how she came to hatch this project, what the artists are like, what means gouache and so forth. Rena Minar, owner of RM Gallery and contemporary folk art specialist, will speak after Secor. Opening reception 1-3 p.m. Exhibition thru Sept. 3. Gallery hours: Wed. & Fri., 12-5 p.m.; Thu., 12-8 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Inman Gallery, 1114 Barkdull, 529-9676. (Works are for sale and proceeds will be split between the artists and the Harbach-Ripley Facility.)
Tenth Annual Giorgee Awards The Ensemble Theatre named these prizes after the theater's founder, the late George Hawkins. This gala is to honor the artists, technicians and other participants of the 1993-1994 Revival Season and celebrate the presence of the Ensemble in the Houston theater community and the Houston African-American culture. It's also a party. A champagne buffet, comedy, dramatic vignettes, entertainment by Jazz After Hours and an after party are on the agenda.
This year's theme is "This Year is for You!" The "You" would be the people who have helped the theater in the past and the people who have been meaning to check out our oldest continuously operating African-American theater. 7 p.m. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main, 520-0055. $25 per person; for groups of two or more $20 per person; the after party only is $5.