Dance fans will be all aflutter this week, as it's time for the Dance Salad Festival. Eleven of the world's most cutting-edge, prolific dance troupes will descend on Houston for the three-day fest, which includes special classes, outreach activities and forums for local and international students. The dance forms range from modern and contemporary to classical, forming a unique mix (a "salad," if you will) of styles and traditions. The names represent a who's who of the dance scene, including New York's Armitage Gone! Dance; Alonzo King's Lines Ballet from San Francisco; Ballet de L'Opera de Lyon, France; and Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal. Watch for a performance of Once de Septiembre by Houstonian Dominic Walsh's Dance Theater. 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday, March 26. Wortham Center Cullen Theater, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.dancesalad.org. $15 to $44; student rush tickets available 90 minutes before show.
Friday, March 25
If your idea of Easter weekend extends past bunnies, brunches and Bibles, today hang out with the hipsters at the urban promotions group Trendsetters Inc., the same folks responsible for the popular "Milkshake" parties downtown. They're throwing "Sitting Pretty," a wine tasting and art show where local wax man Def Jam Blaster -- who's become quite the fixture of the chic party scene -- will spin tracks. 8 p.m. The Renaissance Hotel, 6 Greenway Plaza. For information, visit www.trendsettersinc.net. Free before 10 p.m. $10.
Of course, if you're of the Christian ilk, today is a day of reflection and introspection. "But it's also a 'good' day for a party," says Kenneth Akiri, pun apparently intended. Akiri is expecting a full house for eob IV, the latest in his series of Christian "Evening of Bliss" raves. (Yeah, we're picturing the Disciples carrying glo-sticks and whistles, too.) Entertainment includes R&B from Soulfruit, female rapper Judy Carnales and four DJs. Though there won't be a bikini contest, there will be dance contests in the techno/hip-hop room as well as the salsa dance floor. Shake your saved ass from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Meridian, 1503 Chartres. For information, call 281-733-3312 or visit www.heavenlyraves.com. $15.
Saturday, March 26
Everybody's meditating: NBA athletes, doctors, lawyers and even Laura Bush. So the local spiritual development group is hosting an evening of guided meditation and dinner with David and Chandra Courtney. Everyone -- especially the blind or visually impaired -- is encouraged to attend the event at the Integrated Wellness Center of Houston. It's recommended that you wear white, comfortable cotton clothing and get there early. Seriously -- these meditators don't screw around. "The slightest distraction such as closing and shutting of a door could interfere with the meditation in progress," according to the evening's guidelines. (Don't be a jackass and sneeze, either.) The doors close promptly at 6 p.m. 800 West Sam Houston Parkway South, Suite 201. For information, call 713-876-5400 or visit www.eshavasyam.com. $30 to $60. Admission includes a signed CD and dinner.
You're focusing on positive energy and drifting along your enlightened spiritual plane. Time to watch dudes kick the holy shite out of each other. For our money, there's hardly a better flick for that than Fight Club. Sure, folks squealed at Brad Pitt's chiseled six-pack, but we love Helena Bonham Carter's burned-out, nicotine-laced, emaciated Marla. (Remember how Pitt's Tyler Durden told Ed Norton to "get rid of her" just moments after giving her the wood?) Meditate on how to create an ass-kicking alter-ego, and remember, the first rule of Fight Club... well, you know the rest. Midnight, River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $6 to $8.
Sunday, March 27
You're probably aware that Easter Sunday is essentially a celebration of JC getting over some serious suffering. For a different twist on the day, Voices Breaking Boundaries will present Pakistani novelist Maniza Naqvi as part of their Cultural Narrative Series. Naqvi will read from her novel, Stay With Me, which follows a physically and psychologically tortured female political prisoner who uses her memories and fantasies as a means of escape. Naqvi's book is a jarring reminder that all over the world, people are still being tortured daily. The evening starts off with music and live poetry at 7 p.m. The Artery, 5401 Jackson. For information, call 713-524-7821 or visit www.voicesbreakingboundaries.org. $5.
Monday, March 28
Okay, all this talk about torture and violence may be a tad depressing. But hey, some stories of senseless killing can be uplifting! If you were at all inspired by Don Cheadle's performance in Hotel Rwanda, you're sure to get all warm 'n' fuzzy over Adrien Niyongabo, a real-life survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Niyongabo, a practicing Quaker, works village by village, bringing the warring Hutus and the Tutsis together using philosophy from the Quakers and Gandhi. Niyongabo shares his heroic story (and how to pronounce his name) at 7 p.m. Texas Southern University, Robert James Terry Library, 3100 Cleburne, between Scott Street and Ennis. For information, call 713-547-0090 or visit www.friendspeaceteams.org. Free.
Tuesday, March 29
Perhaps the extent of your poetic prowess is "There once was a man from Nantucket" (not that that isn't a classic, mind you). You can expand your horizons this week with Houston International Poetry Inc.'s HIP-INK International Slam. Starting today, local and visiting international poets, lyricists and wordsmiths will gather at local venues including Helios, Southmore House and the Orange Show to share their flow on life, love and whatever it is that makes poets, well, poetic. Today they get wordy at 7 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, Webster 1029 West Bay Area Boulevard. For information, a schedule and a list of participating venues, visit www.hipword.org. Free.