It's not that she's sick of waterfalls. But after Michele Brangwen saw FotoFest's 2004 exhibition "Water," she realized that water isn't always beautiful. So with the help of composer Thomas Helton, she choreographed Black Rain, which refers to the poisonous drops that fell on Hiroshima after the atomic bomb dropped, and also to the toxic ash that floated down on New York after the 9/11 attacks. Clad in gray and black, and with movement partly inspired by a video shot underwater, Brangwen and her modern dance troupe will explore what she calls "the ultimate reversal of nature": rain bringing death instead of life. The dancers also will take on other issues, such as xenophobia and the "collateral damage" of dead civilians. The dance, Brangwen says, offers "a cautionary look into the future under radioactive world leadership."
The Rosta Jazz Avengers will join the four dancers on the stage, and the Carol Morgan Trio will open the evening with "Wet Set," a collection of water-inspired jazz standards. Guests also can check out an installation from FotoFest at Black Rain, with performances at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 12, and 4 p.m. Sunday, February 13. Barnevelder Movement/Arts Center, 2201 Preston. For information, call 713-533-9515 or visit www.brangwendance.org. $10 to $15. -– Julia Ramey
The Devil's Due
Theatre Collide presents a fiery "FaustFest"
In case it's been a while since you read Goethe's Faust (what, you don't keep the original German text in your bag?), the good doctor was a scholar who sold his soul to the devil for the sake of knowledge. Theatre Collide's "FaustFest" offers six Faust-inspired plays each night, each exploring the dark choices facing us all. In the memory play One Two, a journalist looks back on decisions she made during World War II; in Shatterings, a 12-year-old splits in two when her parents decide to divorce. Other works examine topics as weighty as war and the end of the world. Theatre Collide says its mission is "smashing diverse ideas together to see if they make sparks." Watch them generate a little hellfire at 8 p.m. Friday, February 11. Through February 27. Houston Foundry, 1712 Burnett. For a full schedule, call 713-528-5108 or visit www.theatre-collide.com. $5 to $10. -– Julia Ramey
Bad Moda Focas
Our vote for the Best Band Name of 2005: Moda Foca, the latest project for vocalist Sonny Treviño, formerly of Houston Spanish rockers Seres Ocultos. Rounding out the new power quartet are Fran Gomez (guitar) and brothers Dido (drums) and Adam (bass) Recendez. On moody, droning rock tracks such as "Fragmentos" or "Calmos" from its soon-to-be-released debut CD, the band certainly borrows more from prog and pop rock than, say, conjunto. And hell, we admit it: We really dig the way the name rolls off the tongue. 10 p.m. Thursday, February 10. White Swan, 4419 Navigation. For information, call 832-746-3553 or visit www.moda-foca.com. Free. –- Greg Barr
Doing a dead-on impersonation of bulbous football guy John Madden wasn't a complete stretch for MAD TV funnyman Frank Caliendo. But the entire Fox NFL pregame crew? A spot-on Jack Nicholson and Robin Williams? No sweat. Close your eyes at one of Caliendo's shows, and you'll swear Madden is before you -- ordering a cheeseburger. Thursday, February 10, through Sunday, February 13. The Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway, suite 431. For tickets and a full schedule, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improv.com. $25. -– Steven Devadanam