If you're going to honor somebody, you might as well make it somebody good. For the past two years the Aurora Picture Show, Houston's microcinema in the Heights, has tipped its hat to an artist who's contributed significantly to the media arts. This year, Aurora director Andrea Grover decided to aim high -- really high. She sent a letter to legendary multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, inviting her to attend an award dinner in her honor. When Anderson's response came in May, Grover was heartbroken. At first. "It was a thin envelope; it looked like a rejection letter," she remembers. But it was an acceptance letter. "I did a jig, literally," says Grover.
Few would argue that Anderson isn't jig-worthy. A Chicago native, she's best known for her one pop hit, the haunting 1981 single "O Superman." But music isn't her only medium -- since the early 1970s, Anderson has worked with sculpture, projected imagery, video and spoken word and toured the globe extensively. "She's made art that has a political edge to it without being patronizing or unpalatable," says Grover.
Aurora is also staging a public screening of some of the artist's video work, including the short What You Mean Me, Anderson's tongue-in-cheek look at what it means to be an art star. Screenings: 8 p.m. Saturday, October 4, and 3 p.m. Sunday, October 5. Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora Street. $5. Award dinner: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 9. Home of Leigh and Reggie Smith, 1519 South Boulevard. $200. For information and tickets, call 713-868-2101. - Jennifer Mathieu
Doubletree Hotel's Habaña
When I walked through the electric double doors of the Doubletree Hotel (400 Dallas, 713-759-0202) I thought I'd made a wrong turn somewhere around Richmond, Virginia. The lobby was overflowing with gray-haired dudes in bright yellow T-shirts announcing that they were descendents of the Buffalo Soldiers Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Divisions in the Civil War. There were more than 100 of them! I navigated my way to the lobby bar, where I met a most charming gal by the name of Kerry; she wasted no time introducing me to one of her recent concoctions. The Habaña was an unassuming little number high on alcohol and low on pretentiousness. I managed to throw back three or four before I had to feed my parking meter. When I got up from the bar stool, I did a double take. I'm used to seeing pink elephants after a long night on the town, but when you pay your tab, put your glasses on and look up to see a giant water buffalo in the lobby, you know it's time to think about slowing down.
1-1/2 ounces Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila (Gold Label)
3/4 ounce Hiram Walker Apricot Brandy
Splash of Daily's Sweet 'N' Sour Mix
Measure out tequila, brandy and sweet 'n' sour into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake two, maybe three times and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist. -- J.W. Crooker FRI 10/3
The Brother Said It
Poetry is emotion expressed with words; spoken word, on the other hand, is words expressed with emotion. Brother Said (as in "he said, she said") is a spoken word poet. After a brief hiatus from the spoken word scene, he's back, spitting out words that draw a whole range of emotions from his audience. This weekend, come hear what the Brother has to say. His political rants and sexual raves will hold you spellbound. 10:30 p.m. Friday, October 3. Mahogany Café, 2908 Rosedale. For information, call 281-872-1596 or visit www.houstonpoets.com. $5. - Felicia Johnson-LeBlancFRI 10/3
When Shirin Neshat returned to her native Iran after 12 years in the United States, she found her country transformed forever by the Islamic Revolution. She no longer knew which place to call home, and was inspired to create a body of video and photographic work marked by compelling opposites: the desert and the sea, the architecture of the East and the West and women in black chadors next to Muslim men in crisp white shirts. Her exhibition opens at 9 p.m. on Friday, October 3, and runs through November 30. Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose. For more information, call 713-284-8250 or visit www.camh.org. Free. - Keith Plocek