Life and Death

8ThursdayIn the very late 1950s, young French filmmakers turned on their heritage of technically slick but emotionally distant films — "icy perfection," Fran¸ois Truffaut called it. They opted instead to create films that seemed spontaneous, real and honest. Truffaut had been a film critic, and his debut film, The 400 Blows, was critically acclaimed as the best of his movement, the French New Wave. The movie follows a 13-year-old Parisian boy, Antoine Doinel, through his unhappy home, a juvenile detention center and, finally, to a famous freeze-frame of the sea. In its fourth annual Cinémathèque, the Museum of Fine Arts presents this and 14 other Truffaut films, complemented by seven classic movies by Alfred Hitchcock, whom Truffaut greatly admired. Other Cinémathèque screenings include Truffaut's Jules and Jim, Mississippi Mermaid, The Man Who Loved Women and The Bride Wore Black, and Hitchcock's Spellbound, Rebecca, Murder, Frenzy and The Man Who Knew Too Much. The 400 Blows plays today at noon and Sunday, July11, at 7p.m. The series runs through August 9 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet. For information call (713)639-7515. $5.9FridayHey, buuuudy, it's the wea-sel! Sadly, it's actually the crushed, empty shell of the weasel. Pauly Shore is coming to town fresh off a string of terrible movies (Son in Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty, Bio-Dome, need I say more?) and undoubtedly is still licking his wounds from 1996's failed Fox sitcom, Pauly. Critics say he has had the most embarrassing Hollywood career in history — and we all know there have been many. What do you do when Tinseltown beats you down? You escape to the open road and go back to stand-up comedy. Those of us who remember the glory days of the early '90s, when Totally Pauly ruled MTV and the weasel had wormed his way into our hearts, will come out and pay our respects. Pauly Shore headlines tonight and Saturday, July10, at the Laff Spot Comedy Café, 17776 Tomball Parkway, Suite 5A. Showtimes: 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Barry Freidman and Patrick Candleraria open. Call (281)955-9200 for reservations. $25. 10SaturdayWith 28 galleries participating in an all-day open house and nearly half of them hosting evening artists' receptions, ArtHouston looks to be the gallery-hopping, hobnobbing, wine-drinking, cheese-eating, art-appreciating event of the summer. Wander through the George Krause retrospectives at both the John Cleary and Hooks-Epstein galleries or check out Aidi Kansas's pet portraits at Jack Meier Gallery. Whatever you do, don't miss Glenn Downing's "Let's Get Lickor'd Up" (the best exhibit name of the bunch) at Thomas V. Robinson Galleries. ArtHouston will benefit the Texas Children's Cancer Center's Arts in Medicine Program as well as Project Row Houses. Please see the Houston Press art listings, call (713)520-7767 or go to www.arthouston.com for more information.11SundayThe Jewish Community Center Summer Dance Festival concludes today with "Texas Tanz ­ 1999, A Texas Style Dance Festival," featuring the Philadelphia-based At Marah Dance Company. Perhaps even more interesting than this dance company's non-Texas location is its decidedly religious mission statement: "To present works of dance/theater which Š reflect a Christian worldview." Testimonials on At Marah's Web site attest not only to the group's artistic expertise (choreographer Stephen Wynne danced with the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet and several companies in Germany and the Netherlands), but also to its ability to "inspire" audience members. One woman, in fact, "was so moved by the presentation she gave her life to Jesus." The local Psophonia Dance Company and students from the JCC's Summer Dance Repertory/ Performance Workshop will also perform. 3p.m. Also, Saturday, July 10, 8p.m. Kaplan Theatre, Jewish Community Center, 5601 Braeswood, (713)551-7255. $13; $11, members; $8, seniors and students.

12Monday

Think traditional folk-dancing groups are full of old couples doing obscure Balkan dances to equally obscure Balkan music? Well, you're wrong. The ages of the Monday Night Folkdancers range from twentysomething to sixtysomething, and according to instructor Joan Furstenberg, "the people in their sixties act more like they're in their forties." And you don't need a partner. If the group is short on men, as is sometimes the case, the female teachers are good leads. Furthermore, while the steps may be old-world, the music is often new. "There's nothing like doing Turkish cecenos to a Michael Jackson song," Furstenberg says. The Monday Night Folkdancers meet every Monday night from 7:30p.m. to 10 p.m. at the River Oaks Parks and Recreating Building, 3600Locke Lane. Call (713)723-6332 for more information. $3.

Leslie Scates, Joel Orr, Alicia Moore and Sonia Noriega "wreck" Requiem.
Leslie Scates, Joel Orr, Alicia Moore and Sonia Noriega "wreck" Requiem.

13Tuesday

Billy D. Washington is a VH-1 host, Charlie Shannon is a sitcom writer, and Jeff Burghart is a headliner at comedy clubs in Los Angeles. No, they're not big stars, but they are successfully staying alive in the sink-or-swim world of comedy, unlike, say, the meteoric Pauly Shore. What else do they all have in common? They got their starts at the Laff Stop's "Houston's Funniest Person Contest." This year 48 young amateurs have polished their acts in the hopes of breaking into the business in style — with a cool title and $1,000 in prize money. One day you may be able to say, "I saw them first." Eight budding comedians perform in the semifinal round tonight; and another eight will perform Tuesday, July 20. The finals are Tuesday, August 3. All contest rounds begin at 8:30 p.m., and admission is $5. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, (713)524-2333. 14Wednesday"Grease is the word, is the word that they heardŠ" but you won't hear this in Theatre Under the Stars' production of the musical. In fact Grease the play is missing many of the classic '70s songs we've memorized from Grease the movie. There's no theme song; there's no "You're the One That I Want;" there's no "Hopelessly Devoted to You." But the worst affront to the movie generation's sacred belief in Grease as "the way we are feeling" is the fact that Danny's bad-boy T-Birds are called the "Burger Palace Boys." At least the Pink Ladies maintain their dignity. Despite its shortcomings, the play is the only Grease fix you're going to get for free — you'd have to rent the movie. TUTS's production of Grease opens tonight at 8:30p.m. and runs every night except Sunday through July 24. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park. Call (713)558-2600 for more information. Free.

 
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