In Jerker, two men have erotic phone conversations while completely NUDE. Got your attention? Joe Watts, the theater's artistic director, thought it would. He's up front about one reason he's producing the play: "Nudity sells.""But once the audience is in there," he's quick to add, "and realizes how intense...the play is, the nudity will become almost incidental." Set in 1985, as the AIDS crisis exploded, the play explores gay values, love and intimacy through a series of phone calls between its protagonists.
The Houston Voice has called Watts, who staged the city's first AIDS-related work in 1985, "the father of gay theater in Houston." Jerker is the first play to open in his new space, Theatre New West...too, which is housed in the same building as his larger venue, Theatre New West.
With the increasing popularity of phone and Internet sex, Watts argues that Jerker is more relevant now than when it was first performed in 1986. And the play's AIDS education message is just as important. Quoting playwright Robert Chesley's response to FCC charges against Pacifica Radio for airing parts of Jerkerin the late '80s, Watts says, "Nobody ever died from being offended, but prudity can kill." 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through June 5. 1415 California. For reservations, call 713-522-2204. $20.-- Mary Specht
The bluegrass band Hayseed Dixie secured its niche by recording an entire album of AC/DC covers. (Get it? Hay-seed/Dix-ie?) Local cover band Bonsfire has a similar affinity for the Australian hard rockers, but only the early stuff, when singer Bon Scott fronted the band. Scott died of drink in 1980. He was known as a reckless personality, exactly the sort he eerily portrayed on his last AC/DC album, 1979's Highway to Hell. Bonsfire, a five-piece band that includes ex-members of Patridge Family and a couple of guys who work at Cecil's, celebrates Scott's memory with reverent covers from AC/DC's '70s heyday. So don't expect the hits "Hell's Bells," "Back in Black" or "You Shook Me All Night Long." Front man Brian Johnson sang those. 10 p.m. Saturday, May 17. Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-521-0521. $6.-- Troy Schulze
Several Dancers Core will make you feel something, dammit
Be prepared to embark upon an emotional ride at this weekend's dance performance by Several Dancers Core at Miller Outdoor Theatre. "Dance to the Music" features six works, each out to make you feel something different. For example, A New Clear Morning, an otherworldly work created in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, will inspire contemplation. And Idle, set to the frenetic Chemical Brothers song "Dig Your Own Hole," features an energetic men's trio that will get the crowd all pumped up. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 17. 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-862-5530 or visit www.severaldancerscore.org. Free. -- Cathy Matusow
At Helios's I Ball, your eyeballs will be so stimulated, they won't know where to look. Attractions include portraits by Jim Pirtle and a "wearable art" fashion show with found-art designs by Dawn Bell. Stick around for performances by Stu Mulligan (Pirtle's mayonnaise-scarfing, performance-art alter ego), JW Americana, ** Symphony, and the Medicine Show, a ferocious local jug band. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 17. Helios, 411 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-4648. $10 suggested donation. -- Troy Schulze