Night & Day

April 8-14, 1999

Thursday
April 8
Once and for all, where's Party on the Plaza? Well, the same place it always has been. Thanks to the "urban revitalization" of the Bayou Place area, Jones Plaza was scheduled for a facelift, and the Party was to move a few blocks south to Tranquility Park. But, owing to the sluggish incompetence of our fair city's Public Works Department, the renovations are behind schedule, and the Party is staying right where it belongs, on the Plaza. This week see Leon Russell (that silver-maned, boogie-woogie piano man from the '60s) and local jam band Moses Guest. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Jones Plaza is at the corner of Louisiana and Capitol. Free.

Mario Perez is a joker. Each of his abstract, atmospheric, pastel paintings in DiverseWorks's subspace gallery is paired with a found object that either appreciates or criticizes it. A golden trophy appears to hold one painting up, while a kitschy fox seems to turn away from another. The exhibit interacts with itself so much that it hardly requires a human audience, but we recommend you go, anyway. Also check out the Cecilia Vicuna show, "cloud-net," in the Main Gallery. The Chilean-born artist mixes media and cultures in her weaved installations to challenge Western ideas about art. Both exhibits are on view Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. through April 24. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, (713)223-8346. Free.

Friday
April 9
Just in time for the next Houston International Festival, focusing on South Africa, the Museum of Fine Arts hosts an African Film Series. The six films may be by African filmmakers, but they tell universal stories about friends torn apart by ambition, about the tensions between the modern and the traditional, about unemployment and family commitments, and even about the scramble for a winning lottery ticket. The festival opens this weekend with Zairean filmmaker Mweze Ngangura presenting his new film, ID (Pieces d'identites), the story of a Congolese king who travels to the Zairean quarter of Brussels in search of his daughter. The king's royalty means little in Belgium. In fact, his pieces d'identites, an elaborate headdress and necklace, garner nothing more than a customs fine and a shady antiques dealer. ID plays tonight and Saturday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. The African Film Festival continues through April 18. Brown Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, (713)639-7531. $5.

Saturday
April 10
The punky sideshow freaks of Circus Redickuless have no talent, but they have no shame, either. The "rag-tag team of users, losers and abusers" travels the country harassing very small audiences with scatological name-calling, stupid stunts (such as pulling balloons through their noses) and Dammit, the Amazing Wonderdog, who bites. Don't worry if you missed ringleader Chicken John and his motley crew at their last undersold gig at TemplO; Phillip Glau has made a New York Underground Film Festival-winning documentary. It's the perfect way to see the pathetic Redickuless: all the absurdity, but no chance of being called up on stage to receive the snot-covered balloons. Circus Redickuless will be screened at 9 p.m. at Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora, (713)868-2101. $5 donation.

What a relief. Enron's letting Planned Parenthood come to its Earth Day party after all (see Insider, March 18). Now, PP's young, hip, urban, birth-control-pill-popping clients don't have to choose between their politics and their Barenaked Ladies. Buffalo Bayou Park, west of downtown between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive, will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bands play approximately hourly; exhibits are open all day. Skydive USA jumps at 2:40 p.m. Call KRBE at (713)954-2361 or (713)266-1000 for more information. $8; free for kids under 12.

Sunday
April 11
Vigilante satirist Michael Moore (TV Nation, Roger & Me, Downsize This) is back on TV in a new weekly half-hour series on Bravo called The Awful Truth. In the two-part first episode, Moore takes a jury of Puritans to Ken Starr's house to demonstrate a more affordable witch-hunt and invites an HMO CEO to the funeral of a guy who needs a pancreas transplant that's not covered by his policy. The fun doesn't stop there: Future episodes will include a common-sense quiz show that pits the working class against the wealthy; a choir of voice-box carolers who've lost their larynxes due to smoking; an air-drop of television sets on the new ultrareligious, anti-TV government in Afghanistan (complete with an impassioned plea from Sally Struthers); and an attempt to find the First Lady a date for January 2001 (when she's "free"). The Awful Truth premieres tonight at 8 p.m. (9 p.m. eastern) on Bravo.

Monday
April 12
"Am I a homosexual? I don't know how that rumor got started. As I told David Frost on national TV, 'I cover the waterfront.' " So, according to celebrity biographer and film buff Charlotte Chandler, says Tennessee Williams. Chandler's play Confessions of a Nightingale (co-authored by actor Ray Stricklyn) is supposedly based on actual conversations she had with the great playwright in his Key West home. Tennessee tells tales on everyone from Gertrude Stein and Houstonian Edward Albee to Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and himself. R.J. Soule plays the lead. Confessions of a Nightingale opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at The Little Room Downstairs Theater, 2326 Bissonnet. Performances continue Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through April 24. Call (713)523-0791 for tickets, $15.

Tuesday
April 13
With the old Music Hall razed and construction of the new Hobby Center for the Performing Arts not scheduled for completion until 2002, it would seem that Theatre Under the Stars is, well, out under the stars. But instead of performing al fresco, TUTS is opening its five-show 1999 season at the Arena Theatre. There, it'll revive the 1992 Tony Award-winner for Best Revival, Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls. The classic musical comedy follows gamblin' guys Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit and their respective dolls, Sarah Brown and Miss Adelaide, through '50s New York and show-stopping songs such as "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat." Broadway veterans Richard Muenz and Jacqueline Piro star. Next up: Jesus Christ Superstar ... at the Wortham. Guys and Dolls plays Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. through April 18. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, (800)678-5440. $16-$55.

Wednesday
April 14
Truck driver Joe Harris was blinded in a drive-by shooting at the age of 26. Some 25 years later, he has turned to, of all things, visual art to help him cope with his sightlessness. But Harris's show at Blossom Street Gallery, "Unsurpassed Beauty from the Inner Eye," isn't limited to the abstract creations of the mind's eye. Using thick layers of Braille-marked paints, he turns his canvas into a sort of textured road map of all the things he used to see: flowers, rocks, fruit, trees, bodies of water, the sun. Joe Harris's paintings will be on display Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. through May 4. Blossom Street Gallery, 4809 Blossom, (713)869-1921. Free.

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