As film and video technology advances, artists find new ways to exploit it. Of course, the use of film and video in gallery installations is nothing new; it's been happening since the early 1960s. But during the past two decades, the movie theater and the museum have moved closer together. Nowadays, you're about as likely to find projected images on gallery walls as you are paintings. As a result, our experience of art has shifted. The Contemporary Arts Museum's latest exhibition, "Fade In: New Film and Video," explores this shift. "In the past 40 years, film and video have become increasingly common artistic tools used to articulate an array of subject matters and ideas," says Paola Morsiani, curator of the exhibition. "The works in 'Fade In' test the boundaries of what we've come to expect from film and video."
"Fade In" features film, video and DVD projections presented both in darkened theaters and in the real space of the gallery. Spectators get the opportunity to experience the collective nature of viewing video from the different perspectives of theater patrons and museumgoers. The works range from Tacita Dean's Mario Mertz, a 16-millimeter film documentary about the eponymous Italian artist, to Foxy Xerox, a video installation by Luis Gispert that portrays a white girl attempting to emulate black hip-hop dancers. Opening reception: 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, April 2. Through July 4. 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit www.camh.org. Free. -- Troy Schulze
Sushi and Spice
It's kite-flying season again, which means that somewhere, Charlie Brown is having difficulty with that hungry tree. He should slap on a kimono and take some lessons from kite master Seiko Nakamura at the Japan Festival. This year's event celebrates "150 Years of Japan-U.S. Relations." Performance highlights include graceful moves from the Sakura Japanese Dance Company and the thunderous poundings of local drum group Kaminari Taiko. There's also a formal tea ceremony, a martial arts demonstration, a Todai sushi-eating contest, a variety of foods and crafts for sale, and plenty of games and activities for kids, like mochitsuki (rice pounding) and a "donuts race." What else would you expect from the country responsible for all those wacky game shows? 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 3; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 4. Hermann Park, 6001 Fannin. For information, call 713-963-0121. Free. -- Bob Ruggiero
Word on the street is that Kool B is, well, cool like that when he waxes poetic at Helios. So we asked Mike Anderson, who organizes the weekly Helios poetry happenings, to sum up Kool's flavor in an on-the-fly haiku. "Kool B in Helios / Muses aloud in spotlight / His words revolving," he responded. (Not bad, Mike.) The featured guest at this week's Poetry Open Mike Night event, Kool will spread his signature message of brotherly love, tread some political/philosophical waters and keep it real with a thug-poet's view of the street life. Wannabe wordsmiths can then share three poems during a set hosted by Willie Ruggins. 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 7. 411 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-4648. Free. -- Steven Devadanam
Back to the Hotel
Have you ever looked around a bar and imagined your fellow drinkers in their intimates? You won't have to this Saturday at ClubMonkey's Spring Pajama Pub Crawl, where you can get totally shit-faced and chat up more than 200 scantily clad people. Crawlers will be meeting at the Renaissance Hotel; sliding on some silk PJs, boxers or lingerie; jumping on buses bound for four local pubs; and then heading back to the hotel. Drink your fill and try your best lines on the hottie in Victoria's Secret. As Hef knows, there's no better opener than pajamas and a ton of alcohol. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 3. 6 Greenway Plaza. For information, call 713-522-0881 or visit www.clubmonkey.com. $50 to $60. -- Steven Devadanam