Night & Day

March 18 - 24, 1999

Thursday
March 18
There's one dance group in town that doesn't much care whether we ever get a concert hall for contemporary dance. Leslie Scates and her crew of primary-color-costumed dancers take their choreography to the streets -- well, the greenbelts, anyway. Drive By Dancing is designed to give the car-bound a brief rush-hour diversion. (Social scientists take note: Is this the answer to road rage?) The Drive By Dancers will perform at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. today on Memorial Drive at S. Picnic Lane, and at the same times on Friday, March 12, at the "Dandelion Fountain" on Allen Parkway. Free.

Friday
March 19
Liz Belile will not be acting in her capacity as Houston Press on-line editor when she takes the stage tonight for Gynomite: Fearless Feminist Porn. The spoken word and performance series that Belile founded in Los Angeles will also feature the sex-positive porn of writer and Shag frontwoman Christa Forster, Chicana activist Tammy Gomez, Queer Artist Collective members Jama Shelton and Lisa Jacobs, Press writer Shaila Dewan and Trish Herrera, author of Girl and Finding Your Inner Slut. 7:30 p.m. Atomic Cafe, 1320 Nance, (713)222-ATOM. $7.

When the Robert Bresson film series played the Museum of Modern Art in January, a relatively unruly crowd gathered outside, begging, pleading and offering to pay outlandish prices to get in. Sure, New Yorkers are more sophisticated than the rest of us, but what were they thinking? The nearly-100-year-old French Catholic filmmaker is known for his spare telling of depressing and sometimes obscure religion-tinged stories, nothing that should interest the MTV generation. But perhaps the current media tricks of excessive dialogue and quick-cutting eye candy are the perfect backdrop for launching Bresson's works into new popularity. In the age of sitcoms about nothing, a filmmaker who can convey an epic tragedy and even touch on the meaning of life in the span of 90 minutes is a rare commodity. Angels of Sin, Bresson's debut film about a nun who tries in vain to save a bitter delinquent, plays tonight at 7:30 p.m., and Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne, a melodrama about a vengeful woman who arranges a bad marriage for the man who slighted her, plays at 9:15 p.m. The series continues through April 3; see Repertory listings for more showtimes. Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, (713)639-7531. $5.

Saturday
March 20
The perky but quirky Wendy Liebman was described by Entertainment Weekly as "the comic with the time-release punch line." Her cynical one-liners sneak in quickly under her breath, after the joke seems to be over. The formula goes something like this: "I like to shop. Lift." Or, "On the airplane I sat beside a man, and I just knew how much he wanted me [beat] to shut up [beat] because he was busy [beat] flying the plane." Or, "I think he was having an affair with his secretary, because I would find lipstick on his shirt [beat] covered with White-Out." This surprisingly simple technique has taken Liebman far. She has successfully sucker-punched audiences on Carson, Letterman, Leno, Rosie, Dr. Katz, Politically Incorrect and all manner of cable comedy specials. Liebman hits the Laff Stop tonight and Friday, March 19, at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. 1952-A W. Gray, (713)524-2333. $15.50.

Bolshoi ballerina Nina Ananiashvili was all the rage in Houston exactly one year ago when she originated the title role in Ben Stevenson's The Snow Maiden. She's back, this time as an official Houston Ballet Principal and as Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Ananiashvili is considered the best performer of classical Russian technique living today, and Aurora is one of her signature roles. She performs opposite Sean Kelly tonight at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 28, at 2 p.m. But Sleeping Beauty actually opens on March 18 and runs through March 28; the other alternating Auroras are principal dancer Lauren Anderson and soloists Courtney Harris and Mireille Hassenboehler. Wortham Center, 500 Texas, (713)227ARTS. $11-$84.

Sunday
March 21
The circus is coming to town, courtesy of the Houston Children's Festival. The Nerveless Nocks Air Spectacular and their Amazing Animal Friends may replace the traditional lions and tigers with Swifty the swimming pig and Betty the harmonica-playing elephant, but it has some advantages over Barnum and Bailey, too, including a family of champion sky-high sway-pole performers and a Backyard Circus where kids can join in on the act. Today and Saturday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. City Hall, Tranquility Park and Sam Houston Park. Call (713)220-2000 access code K-I-D-S for more information. $3.95.

Monday
March 22
We're a society of voyeurs who spend late nights alone watching A&E's Biography, or the VH1, MTV and E! network knockoffs. So it makes sense that if you want to sell a book these days, you write a biography or a memoir. Three writers who know this lesson well are the stars of the 1999 Inprint Literary Conversations, "Life Stories: Biography & Memoir." Diane Wood Middlebrook kicks off the series with a reading from her latest book, Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton. The story is sufficiently sensational; Tipton was a jazz pianist who was married several times and was a good father to his adopted children. But when he died at the age of 74, it was discovered that he was a she. 8 p.m. Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet. (Max Apple is featured Tuesday, March 30, and Arnold Rampersad reads Monday, April 5.) Call (713)521-2026 for more information. Series tickets are $25 ($15 for students and seniors) and single-event tickets are $10 ($7 for students and seniors).

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