Hooray for Bollywood
Certain American film directors have become household names the world over: Spielberg, Scorsese, Hitchcock. India's cinematic heroes, however, are not so lucky. Adoor Gopalakrishnan is considered one of the world's greatest living directors, but it's a good bet that not many American moviegoers can name one of his films (or even pronounce one of his names). The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hopes to change that by presenting four films by the Indian superstar.
Set in the southern province of Kerala, Gopalakrishnan's poetic films examine traditional Indian village life while addressing the universal themes of politics, religion and personal responsibility. The hangman in Shadow Kill (2002) struggles to forget the ghosts of his victims by alternately praying to the goddess Kali and drinking his guilt into submission. Gopalakrishnan will appear in person for the Shadow Kill screenings. Here's your chance to be in the presence of (little-known) greatness. The film plays at 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 10. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet. For information and a full schedule of Gopalakrishnan's films, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6. -- Troy Schulze
The Hip-hop Frontier
A radio show plays songs you won't hear on The Box
In Houston, good hip-hop is hard to find. That's why every Tuesday night Rice University grad student Dennis Lee carries a crate full of LPs to the second floor of the Rice student center to put on his show, The Vinyl Frontier. The program, which is approaching its fifth year of rhyme-flowing action, plays a wide selection of hip-hop, mostly from the 3,500 records Lee has accumulated since his first Frontier appearance. (When Lee took over the reins from previous KTRU hip-hop DJs Eddie Question and DJ Theory, he had only 400.)Unlike some commercial radio stations around here, Frontier doesn't play 50 Cent every ten minutes. "My goal is to really try to get a whole bunch of underexposed, underground hip-hop artists out there," says Lee, whose recent set list included tracks from De La Soul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Prefuse 73, Roots Manuva, Kool G Rap and Killah Priest. Lee also invites other lovers of obscure hip-hop to spin guest sets on the show, including locals Mr. Grinch, DJ Azure and the Phonographerz.
But don't call Lee elitist for playing only overlooked hip-hop. As an on-air KTRU personality, he's simply following the station's tradition of educating listeners about music they probably haven't heard, and just might like. "We view it as our sort of mission to get underexposed artists who are just as good or better than a lot of mainstream artists," says Lee. "We aim to get those people heard. That's our goal." The show airs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday nights on KTRU/91.7 FM. For information, visit www.ktru.org or www.falsecognate.org. -- Craig D. Lindsey
What better to follow the Art Car Parade than the aquatic version of the same event? After gawking at some of the most outrageous contraptions ever to roll on wheels, head to Eleanor Tinsley Park for the Anything That Floats Parade, where the floats actually have to be buoyant. 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10. The parade route runs along Buffalo Bayou from the Sabine Street Bridge to Eleanor Tinsley Park. For information, call 713-223-3500. Free. -- Troy Schulze
Tabatha Tucker and Matthew Barolo shot video works inspired by sexy romance novel covers for their new installation, Romance Project, at Lawndale Art Center. But the artists' overdone hair, costumes and attempts to imitate the covers' passionate clenches won't get you off so much as make you laugh. Opening reception: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 9. The exhibit runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through June 21. 4912 Main Street. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit www.lawndaleartcenter.org. Free. -- Cathy Matusow