Whether it's an impulse road trip to Austin, "Chinese" fire drills on Westheimer or the backseat after prom, Houstonians do it better in their cars. So naturally, folks from around the country flock to our Art Car Parade. The annual weekend salute to man's best friend on wheels begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6, with the Art Car Ball, a party for artists and the public at Talento Bilingue de Houston (333 South Jensen) featuring live music, public performances, art cars, food and libations.
Friday kicks off with the Main Street Drag at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Children's Museum of Houston (1500 Binz), where a convoy of art cars visits schools and hospitals. Downtowners can check out the action in front of Treebeards on Market Square between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., or at the Main Squeeze (Main Street between Preston and Congress), a downtown art car party and scavenger hunt starting at 6 p.m., complete with outdoor films, street music and theater.
The official Everyones Art Car Parade begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 8, on Allen Parkway from Taft to downtown. You'll catch 265 art cars, the occasional Channel 2 personality jamming her microphone into a 12-foot fish on wheels and even our surprisingly hip mayor Bill White, who's riding in the parade.
Later that night, diehards can meet in front of the Art Car Museum (140 Heights) at 8:30 p.m. for a nighttime illuminated cruise. Follow the show to Jennie's Noodle House (2130 Jefferson) for beer and eats.
Feeling inspired? Check out details at www.orangeshow.org. Maybe you'll create a wacky car of your own, so you can finally get that key chain that says, "My other car is a toaster." -- Steven Devadanam
A New Slant
Asian-American film is more than Hong Kong shoot-'em-ups or pseudo-sexual anime. One part film festival and one part educational tool, "Slant IV: Bold Asian American Images" was created by Melissa Hung to dispel the portrayal of Asians as mere caricatures of themselves. "I think when Asians are on television, they're there for an 'Asian' reason," she says. "It's rare that you see them just as a normal person." But Slant isn't an Asia-inspired lovefest. Rather, it's an eclectic showcase of documentary, narrative and experimental short flicks -- all by Asian artists. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 8; and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 9. Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora. For information, call 713-868-2101. $5. -- Steven Devadanam
Full Body Detail
Shake it like a Polaroid picture? Hmm why bother just moving your hand when you can learn how to shake your entire body? The Djely Kunda West African Dance Company is bringing ancient beats to the Bayou City this month for a series of African dance workshops. Based in Dallas, the troupe travels the world, dazzling audiences with colorful performances. Company leader Moussa Diabate hopes to develop a strong dance culture in Houston, one that truly reflects the city's many diverse peoples. No doubt his world-renowned choreography will stimulate the senses as well as the metabolism. So break out the Ozarka, grab a towel and get ready to move. The first class begins at 7:30p.m. Friday, May 7. Barnevelder Movement/ Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. For information, call 713-527-8975 or visit www.barnevelder.org. $10. -- Felica Johnson-LeBlanc
Floats that Float
An art boat parade on Buffalo Bayou
Why a street-parade entry is called a "float" is one of the earth's great mysteries. But at the Anything That Floats Parade, the floats are true to their name. They have to be buoyant -- at least for about 100 yards. "And most don't make it that far," notes Winifred Riser, director of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. "People fall in every year. People think that tires float because inner tubes float. Tires do not float." While some entries are pure artistic vision, others have an agenda. "There were lots of Titanics a couple years ago," says Riser, "and we always see political floats." Some are more successful than others: One year, a participant went home after leaving his trash-laden float bobbing on the bayou, complete with its environmental preservation message. Says Riser, "You could say his political career is all washed up." 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8. For information, call 713-752-0314 or visit www.buffalobayou.org. Free. -- Allison Bech
A group of artists at the Glassell School of Art has a solution for anal-retentive book collectors: Collect books that can't be touched. "Bound/Unbound/Rebound" is an exhibition of book art created in the Glassell's bookbinding class. The handmade pages of each volume contain original images and scenes, and they're encased in glass instead of stuck on a dusty shelf. Made with painstaking craftsmanship, these pieces of art include remarkably unusual folding and binding techniques -- no dog-ears allowed. Opening reception from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 6. On view through Sunday, June 6. The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-8253 or visit www.junghouston.org. Free. -- Christie Taylor