Achtung, Baby

The 1936 Olympics in Berlin revealed the tip of the Nazi iceberg

TUE 12/2

In 1931, Germany was announced as the host of the 1936 Olympics. But by the time the games rolled around, there had been huge changes in the country. The Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler had come to power, pursuing an agenda that hardly reflected a unified world spirit.But despite protests, the games did go on, and that event's legacy is explored in the exhibit "The Nazi Olympics: Berlin in 1936" at the Holocaust Museum Houston. "The games were used by Germany as an excuse for military training," says the museum's Steve Johnson. "Entire units practiced throwing potato mashers as a drill for throwing grenades."

Hitler hoped to use the games to showcase the utter superiority of the Aryan Nation, discouraging or banning German-Jewish athletes from competing. But black American Jesse Owens disrupted that plan, winning four track-and-field gold medals and shaming the Führer. The exhibit also shrewdly juxtaposes Owens's stunning success at the games with the Jim Crow atmosphere he faced upon returning home.

Jesse Owens defies Nazi expectations at the 1936 
Summer Games in Berlin.
Courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives
Jesse Owens defies Nazi expectations at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin.
Spark up your holidays with the Galleria's annual 
show.
Thomas R. DuBrock
Spark up your holidays with the Galleria's annual show.
The corner of Bissonnet at Morningside
Brian Edison
The corner of Bissonnet at Morningside
Hanq Neal, Ronald Materre and W. Jeffrey Campbell 
will sing “…In the Key of Hope.”
Hanq Neal, Ronald Materre and W. Jeffrey Campbell will sing “…In the Key of Hope.”

The touring exhibit includes mostly reproductions of artifacts and photos. However, the Houston stop features an authentic girl's diary recounting the day, ticket stubs and the official German catalog.

"The exhibit will teach people that Nazi oppression was known and discussed around the world, even prior to World War II," says Johnson. "And they'll see the many times the international community allowed the Olympics to be used as a huge PR opportunity by the Nazis." The exhibit opens Tuesday, December 2. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through February 24. 5401 Caroline. For information, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org. Free. -- Bob Ruggiero

Bright As Noon

THU 11/27

We're not so cynical that we can't just admit it: Christmas lights are pretty. They make everything look twinkly and special. We're accustomed to seeing these decorative lights on houses, buildings and, God knows, the mall, but the 18th annual Uptown Holiday Lighting is offering something a little different. Organizers have brought back the Electric Light Parade, a nighttime procession of holiday-themed floats covered in those strings of sparkly bulbs. After the parade, Santa will take the stage and plug in the juice, illuminating the trees and rooftops of Post Oak Boulevard. Then come the fireworks. The extravaganza just might take your mind off the caloric Thanksgiving free-for-all. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, November 27. Post Oak Boulevard between San Felipe and Westheimer. For information, call 713-621-2504 or visit www.uptown-houston.com. Free. -- Lisa Simon

Haute Thanksgiving

THU 11/27

It's Thanksgiving. You don't wanna stress out in the kitchen all day making a meal that will disappear in 20 minutes, leaving a mess that will take hours to clean. There are options.Trevísio offers a Thanksgiving brunch to placate both traditional and nontraditional palates. Executive chef Alan Ashkinaze's special menu offers carved honey-roasted, farm-raised turkey, as well as garlic- and rosemary-roasted leg of lamb. Conventional salads sit beside exotic savories like five-grain salad with smoked duck and cranberries. While there aren't any kiddie tables, a special "little kids" buffet is available for children five and younger. 6550 Bertner Avenue, 713-749-0400.

La Colombe d'Or also offers a set menu with a standard turkey dinner. On top of that, there's blackened redfish, grilled salmon with tequila sauce, beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce and more. 3410 Montrose, 713-524-7999. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman

What Is It?
Art, of course

The mavens of Madison Avenue have trained us well. When we see a billboard image of a bed with rumpled sheets bearing the impression of two lovers, our eyes instantly search for a product endorsement. Is it an advertisement for detergent or linens? Nope. It's art, pure and simple.In keeping with the wishes of Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has placed six billboards around the Museum District, all bearing the same image pictured here. Gonzalez-Torres's photograph shows only the traces of his lover and himself upon an empty bed, hinting at the fleeting quality of human existence. This fluid metaphor is further emphasized by the temporary nature of the billboard installations, as well as the fact that the artist eventually died of complications resulting from the AIDS virus.

The billboards will be up throughout the Museum District until Monday, January 5. For more information, call 713-639-7300. Free. -- Keith Plocek

Hope Floats

MON 12/1

When it comes to mentioning AIDS and AIDS-related events, we here at the Press can't be our usual smartass selves. So we'll just mention that, on this World AIDS Day, local nonprofit The Warren Corporation will be co-hosting an HIV/AIDS awareness gathering at St. Agnes Baptist Church. There will be a free health fair, complete with free HIV testing, followed by a gospel concert of both traditional and contemporary songs called ""In the Key of Hope." Proceeds from that concert will go toward Love Black Kids, an HIV/AIDS educational initiative for parents and children of color. 5 p.m. health fair; 7 p.m. concert; Monday, December 1. 3730 South Acres Drive. For information, call 713-541-9777 or 832-419-6883. $15 to $50. -- Craig D. Lindsey

 
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