Friday, April 4
It's a little creepy to watch someone tell a great lie, smooth as silk. After all, what's to stop them from lying to you? The contestants at today's Houston Storytelling Festival's Liar's Contest don't seemed to be concerned about broadcasting their fabrication skills. On the contrary, they're taking the stage before a panel of judges to find who's best at telling tall tales. The festival also features seminars on subjects such as collecting oral histories, relating stories to kids and telling ghost stories, but the Liar's Contest is always the big draw. The contest starts at 7 p.m. Seminars are from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 5. Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren. For information, call 713-827-2620 or visit www.houstonstorytellers.org. $60 for all events; $10 admission to Liar's Contest.
Saturday, April 5
Telling a good story isn't high on Jean-Luc Goddard's list of priorities. His 2001 movie, In Praise of Love, contains a convoluted plot about a director making a movie about love. Critics have said the film is unnecessarily obtuse and fulfills every stereotype about the pretentiousness of French films. Still, even Goddard's detractors have to admit that, like all of his pictures, In Praise is visually stunning. The director has a knack for creating unforgettable images -- for example, a man reading a book that contains no words. Most strikingly, the movie starts out in 35-millimeter black-and-white film, but when the story goes back two years in time, the screen suddenly floods with reds and oranges shot in digital video. 8 p.m. today and tomorrow. Rice Media Center, entrance no. 8 (off University and Stockton Drive). For information, call 713-238-4882 or visit www.ricecinema.rice.edu. $5 to $6.
Sunday, April 6
With our nation at war, '60s activism has taken on a new resonance. The daughter of a Baptist preacher who maintained an open-door race policy at his predominantly white church, Kate Campbell came of age during the height of the civil rights era in Sledge, Mississippi. Her socially conscious songs, which are influenced by soul, R&B, Southern rock, country and folk music, bear the mark of her upbringing. Campbell writes lyrics that tell stories about race, religion and the South; she's been compared to the writers Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty. Today Campbell gives a concert benefiting Houston Hospice. 7 p.m. First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 2119 Avalon Place. For information, call 713-522-7821. $12 to $15.
Monday, April 7
Feeling aggressive? Don't go out and pick a fight -- you might get hurt. It's smarter to simply watch other people go at it. Browning Boxing presents Monday Night at the Fights, six matches for bloodthirsty spectators. In the International Boxing Association Continental Americas 140-pound championship match, Calvin Green of Baytown will go head-to-head with Saul Duran of Juárez, Mexico, for 12 rounds. The event will be shown on the Fox Sports channel, but there are lots of reasons to see the show in person: Try hand-rolled cigars, valet parking and ringside service from Hooters waitresses. 6 p.m. doors open; 7 p.m. first bell. Sam Houston Ballroom, Radisson Hotel Astrodome, 8686 Kirby Drive. For information, call 713-426-5400 or visit www.browningboxing.com. $25 to $45.
Tuesday, April 8
When Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazi party almost immediately targeted Germany's avant-garde. Modern artists lost their jobs and were forbidden to show their work, which was confiscated, sold or destroyed. In 1937, Hitler staged "Entartete Kunst" (Degenerate Art), an exhibition of works the Nazis considered depraved, by artists including Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and Paul Klee. Some of the persecuted eventually managed to escape to the United States. The exhibit "How Modern Art Escaped Hitler: From the Holocaust to Houston" at the Holocaust Museum Houston tells the artists' stories. On view are 34 works (including pieces by Chagall and Ernst) borrowed from local collectors, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Menil Collection. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through July 27. Reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3. 5401 Caroline. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org. Free.
Wednesday, April 9
Hypnotists are the most powerful comedians of all. Besides forcing them to laugh, Ken Whitener (one of the founders of Spellbinders Comedy Club) can bring audience members onstage and make them think they're riding horses. If he were an evil hypnotist, Whitener could tell his prey to shed their clothes and do erotic dances for the crowds. We know you're happy to hear he's not that kind of guy. Aside from his comedy gigs, Whitener uses his powers on the self-help circuit, helping folks "program their minds for success." 8 p.m. today through Sunday, April 13, with additional 10:30 p.m. shows Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12. Whitener also performs from Wednesday, April 16, through Sunday, April 20. Laff Spot Willowbrook, 17776 Tomball Parkway. For information, call 281-955-9200. $15.