When most people think of the concentration camps run by the Nazis, it's the large, sprawling death camps like Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau that come to mind. But the Germans also had many smaller camps for transit, work and other purposes. Located 50 miles north of Berlin, Ravensbrück was the largest camp for females only -- and one of the deadliest. From its opening in 1939 to the end of the war, it eventually housed more than 132,000 women and children from 23 nations who were systematically starved, beaten, raped, murdered and used for cruel medical experiments. All in all, an estimated 92,000 died. The late artist Julia Terwilliger paid tribute to these women with her exhibition "Women of Ravensbrück: Profiles in Courage."
"Women's experience was significantly different from men's," says Collin Keel, director of changing exhibits for Holocaust Museum Houston. "You can imagine how differently women would have been affected by being stripped, shaved and humiliated by male guards."
Terwilliger's installation includes mixed-media paintings with portraits of many of the women, an abstract memorial triangle (the triangle being the symbol many non-Jewish holocaust victims were forced to wear) and 17 panels telling the history of the camp with photos and artifacts. Terwilliger became interested in the story of Ravensbrück after meeting with Dutch survivors. Sadly, she died unexpectedly before completing her project, which was finished by colleagues and friends.
The opening reception features a talk by Ravensbrück survivor and Houston resident Sonia Stern. The exhibit is on view Thursday, August 7, through November 9. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit. -- Bob Ruggiero
While the advent of digital technology has revolutionized moviemaking, purists continue to champion film. It calls for craft and knowledge necessary in the tactile realm (no Macintosh required). Since 1963, the Ann Arbor Film Festival has exhibited solely independent 16-millimeter and 35-millimeter experimental films. "You don't get as much schlock," says Aurora Picture Show's Andrea Grover, referring to the deluge of entries for dime-a-dozen digital festivals, which yield a lower percentage of quality work. The oldest existing event of its kind, the fest is rolling through Houston with a program of 18 actual prints. Program I: 8 p.m. Saturday, August 9. Program II: 3 p.m. Sunday, August 10. Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora. For information, call 713-868-2101. $5. -- Troy Schulze
Two local filmmakers, Gordon S. Williams and Kelley Smith, will screen their short films Thursday and Friday at "A BlackStar Cultural Explosion." The event also features performances by drummer Kenyha Shabazz and his band, Tropic Blue, poet/rapper DNJC and an assortment of up-and-coming poets. Add in an art exhibit and a martial arts exhibition, and you've got a fleshed-out mini-arts fest. "We're trying to expose the local talent to different parts of Houston," says artist-activist Dziko Ngozi, who organized the impending explosion. Fire away. 7 p.m. Thursday, August 7, at Lockwood Skate Palace, 3323 East Lockwood. 8 p.m. Friday, August 8, at the Island Style Restaurant, 5810 Cullen Boulevard. For information, call 713-812-1130. $12. -- Craig D. Lindsey
The Proletariat hosts Chickapalooza
Fifty bucks will get you into Lollapalooza on Sunday, but for five you can attend Chickapalooza -- eight hours of female-dominated bands at The Proletariat. The show features performances by DJ Collective (4:30 p.m.), who spin Brit-pop, electro, shoegaze and '60s French pop; Chickenhawk (6 p.m.), who use a drum machine to drive their bass-and-guitar-powered attack; and Mock Run (7 p.m.), whose wheelchair-bound lead singer and guitarist, Denise Ramos, is unforgettable. And don't miss Drivingmissdaisy (8 p.m.), who are either men in drag or strange-looking women; 61 Cygni (9 p.m.), who create swirly guitar and melodic bass lines; punk rock kids the Kimonos (10 p.m.); and Ume (11 p.m.). Sunday, August 10. 903 Richmond. For more information, call 713-523-1199 or visit www.theproletariat.net. $5; $8 for folks under 21. -- Scott Nowell
Gone are the days when a kid could be a kid. If a high schooler wants to go to college, he's gotta start preparing in ninth grade -- at least that's what Valerie Pierce, author of Countdown to College: 21 "To Do" Lists for High School, professes. The book started out as a series of lists Pierce created for her daughter, Ashlie, who went to Cypress Springs High School and is now a junior at the University of Texas. "We knew it was going to be difficult to put together all the things we needed for college," says Pierce, "and there wasn't a resource easily understandable to a student anywhere." When friends started using the lists too, Pierce contacted Front Porch Press, which had already published a similar book for college students. Does Ashlie have a copy of that one? Says her mom, "Oh, yes." Pierce signs copies from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 9. B. Dalton Bookseller, 2480 Galleria 3, 5175 Westheimer. For information, call 713-960-8191 or visit www.highschoolbook.com. Free. -- Cathy Matusow