Strange Heights

Bobbindoctrin offers up a lighthearted look at tyranny

SAT 5/8

The folks at Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre claim to be taking it down a notch for their upcoming outdoor performance at the Sabine Street ArtPark. "We are doing a hand-puppet show about Lenin," says Jenny Campbell, one of the creators of Oh Lenin. "We got so highbrow that we got tired of ourselves, so we were like, 'Okay, hand puppets.'" Fair enough: Hand puppets are a little more lowbrow than Bobbindoctrin's usual mix of shadow, rod, hand, string and tabletop puppetry, but any art form that deals with tyrannical communist dictators can't be too low, now can it? "We can't do a really serious, shadow-oriented show because of the light," she says. "We can't use power, so we can't do any of our cool overhead things that we love to do." So they've created a farcical show based on a classic Russian children's story about a man whose sleep keeps getting interrupted by telephone calls from wacky wild animals. "We've kind of adapted that to Lenin's life," she says. "It's sort of about these strange, carnivorous toy animals and Lenin trying to take a nap." If that's what counts for lowbrow these days, then we must be living in a pretty highfalutin world. The ten-minute show repeats from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 8. 100 Sabine. For information, call 713-526-7434 or visit www.bobbindoctrin.org. Free. -- Keith Plocek

No Limits
Dave Chappelle is an equal-opportunity satirist

Dave Chappelle is arguably the hottest comedian today. In addition to his stellar stand-up, he has a half-hour weekly playground in the Comedy Central series Chappelle's Show, which is as edgy and I-can't-believe-he-got-away-with-that funny as anything on TV. And though much of the skit humor is racial and ethnic, the abominably skinny Chappelle is an equal-opportunity satirist. That means playing a black man whose sleep aid is a heaping, healthy portion of greasy ribs, or a member of a white family straight out of '50s TV with an unfortunate last name ("You're one crazy Niggar!" the plump, doting wife tells her straitlaced husband). Chappelle's over-the-top portrayal of the creator of "Super Freak" has even spawned a catchphrase in "I'm Rick James, bitch!" Expect to hear it yelled out, oh, once or twice during his performance. 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, May 12 through 15. The Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improv.com. $35. -- Bob Ruggiero

Warrior Poets

THU 5/6

When slam poetry popped up in the '80s, the freeflowin', freestylin' competition breathed some fresh air into a stuffy literary scene. But Houston poet Cedric Ary, a.k.a. Brother Said, wants to keep moving forward. "In poetry slamming, you call up the poet one by one, and he's judged right after he's done," he rhymes. With slam's Olympic-style scoring system, it's much easier to get a high score at the end of a round than at the beginning. Brother Said wants to put a stop to this inequity and shove the competitive spirit back into scene, so he's organized the first of (hopefully) many head-to-head verse tournaments. The battles begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 6. Southmore House, 3107 Leeland. For information, call 713-299-7829 or visit www.southmorehouse.com. $5. -- Keith Plocek

Seal of Approval

THU 5/6

We had high hopes for Seal when he unleashed his single "Crazy" in 1991. His combination of coarse but soulful wailing and mysterious facial scars had Next Big Thing written all over it. But other than "Kiss from a Rose" (1994), he's released a string of yawners -- until his latest CD, Seal IV. Pared down in a live setting, this soft-spoken Brit can get down and dirty with the best of them. 8 p.m. Thursday, May 6. H-Town's Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway, 713-988-1020. $45 to $185. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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