Walking Tall

Jack Massing of the Art Guys sports a new pair of kicks

They were good enough for Jaohn Travolta, KISS and Elton John, and if the Art Guys have anything to say about it, platform shoes just might be making a comeback. Short -- or, in the politically correct vernacular, vertically challenged -- men, take note. Jack Massing of the Art Guys is sporting a pair of custom-made platform cowboy boots that first appeared in Houston last month and will continue to pop up over the coming year. The boots are the centerpiece of a yearlong performance art project called Height Like Mike, commissioned by Lester Marks. At a height of "five feet 10.625 inches," Massing developed the habit of signing Art Guys correspondence as "Jack Massing, the shorter one" during the offbeat duo's 17-year partnership. Despite the lofty stature of Mike Galbreth (six feet 3.8 inches), Massing insists he doesn't suffer from height envy when working with his taller partner. "It's not that I'm short," he says. "It's just that I'm not tall -- and we at the Art Guys believe in 'equal heights.' Besides, if your feet reach the ground, that's all that really matters." Look for Massing and his boots at the Art Guys' exhibitions, keynote speeches and emceeing gigs in the coming months. For information, visit www.theartguys.com. --Amy McGee

Grand Theft Tank
A documentary follows one helluva joyride

As any forty-niner could tell you, gold will make you crazy. So obsessed with El Dorado was Shawn Nelson that he dug a mineshaft in the middle of his backyard in Clairemont, California, in search of riches. And, as any junkie could tell you, crystal meth will make you even crazier. The same Nelson left his backyard in 1995, stole a tank from a National Guard compound and went on a real-life rampage through his neighborhood. Garrett Scott's documentary, Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story, chronicles the speed-fueled joyride of this unemployed plumber and former soldier. Going beyond the newsreel violence, the film asks the biggest of all questions: Why? The answer, if we are to believe the director, lies in the social climate of the time. Either that, or the dude was just plain nuts. 9 p.m. Mondays in May. Dean's Credit Clothing, 316 Main. For information, call 713-868-2101 or visit www.aurorapictureshow.org. $5. -- Keith Plocek

Height Like Mike
Courtesy of the Art Guys
Height Like Mike
Alice Walker
Noah Berger Photography
Alice Walker
HMNS's African wildlife exhibit
Courtesy of HMNS
HMNS's African wildlife exhibit

THU 5/13

Ask Alice

Perhaps best known for her Pulitzer-winning novel The Color Purple, which inspired the 1985 Steven Spielberg film adaptation, novelist-poet-activist Alice Walker has been a quiet force in modern African-American literature for years. Exposing what she calls the twin evils of racism and sexism through strong female characters, Walker once noted that a black woman is "the mule of the world." She's currently promoting her most recent novel, Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart, a story about a woman traveling through the Grand Canyon and the Amazon jungle on a spiritual quest. Walker's own quest brings her to Houston at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13. Sawyer Auditorium at Texas Southern University, 3100 Cleburne. For information, call 713-521-2026. Free. - Steven Devadanam

Desert Gallery

Don't you just hate the vultures in those nature documentaries? The poor baby zebra is lying there -- alone, parched, limbs broken -- and then those skinny-necked bastards show up. Justice is served at the Houston Museum of Natural Science's newly expanded Hall of African Wildlife exhibit, a firsthand look at the country's animals and ecosystem, featuring tropical forests, desiccated deserts, hundreds of rare beasts and a special display just for you, fellow vulture-hater. Opens Thursday, May 13. One Hermann Circle Drive, 713-639-4629. $3.50 to $6. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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