Dorian Shanley is a young hotshot heart surgeon who lives for sex, drugs and the rock-star life. Sure, he's got some faults -- like passing out in the middle of surgery over a patient's open chest -- but he makes for quite the central character in Houstonian producer-director Mark David's latest drama, Intoxicating. The film follows Shanley as he tries to cope with his father, a former pro boxer who's suffering from Alzheimer's disease. He sinks further into his addiction, stealing pharmaceuticals from his hospital to trade for cocaine with his friend/dealer Teddy (the wonderfully sleazy Eric Roberts -- Julia's brother). "I was worried he was going to be a nightmare, but he was totally cool to work with," says David of the reported bad boy Roberts. Made on a shoestring budget, but featuring some hot scenes and a hot soundtrack (David landed Sen Dog of Cypress Hill, Coolio and Tupac Shakur's brother Mopreme for the tracks), Intoxicating could put David on the moviemaking map. Cheer on a local boy made good (and a drugged-up doc) when Intoxicating opens Friday, April 15. Edwards Grand Palace 24, 3839 Weslayan. For information and showtimes, call 713-333-3456 or visit www.roguearts.com. $8. -- Steven Devadanam
Greedy Girls and Guns
Kathryn Casey spins a vivid tale of murderous lesbians in She Wanted It All
Kathryn Casey's new book features lesbian lovers, a murdered business tycoon and a posh Texan setting. So its title, She Wanted It All, could aptly describe not only the crazed trophy wife at its center but also one of its sure-to-be-sated, voyeuristic readers. Casey's latest true-crime tale details the 1999 killing of Texan television mogul Steve Beard and his young wife's subsequent conviction for capital murder. Celeste Beard convinced her lesbian lover, Tracey Tarlton, to shoot her aging husband and then conspired with a beauty-salon receptionist to off Tarlton (does it get any better than that?). In a frenetically paced narrative, Casey details Celeste's murderous antics and the pot brownies, shopping binges and mental illness that fueled them. Talk true crime with Casey as she signs She Wanted It All at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16. Barnes & Noble, 5303 FM 1960. For information, call 281-631-0681. Free. -- Julia Ramey
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
The first rule of hypnosis: If you try to be hypnotized, you won't be. You've got to focus. Relax. Let go.
So here I am sitting on stage at the Improv. Comedian-hypnotist Flip Orley is focusing our attention on a small glass prism. I thought I'd be the only one to jump up when Orley called for volunteers, but to my surprise, about 20 of us are trying to "let go" as Orley -- who sounds like the love child of an auctioneer and a WWE ringside announcer -- mesmerizes us with his rapid-fire instructions: "Breathe deep. Keep your eyes closed. Ignore the sounds around you. Let every muscle relax. Now, when I count to three, I'll ask you your name, but you won't remember."
I do what I'm told. I'm focused. I've let go. I'm a Jedi, I'm so relaxed.
"One. Two. Aaaaannd, three."
We open our eyes. We're back. One by one, Orley asks us our names. Some stare at him blankly. Others answer quickly. He turns to me.
"What's your name, sir?"
"Steven," I blurt out. Crap!
Those who didn't answer are asked to remain on stage. The rest have to leave -- hypnosis hasn't worked out for us. For the remainder of the night, I watch Orley make a small group of people think the entire audience has farted when he says the word "green." They think he's completely naked and that he's a got a three-foot member. One guy believes he's William Shatner auditioning for a bottled-water commercial. The entire group is later convinced they're TV critics arguing the merits of Scooby-Doo. ("It had the first gay TV character: Thelma!" yells an induced critic.)
But not me. Some show -- I've gotta sit and watch, knowing I couldn't be tricked into doing anything I didn't want to. Until I see my tab for two lousy drinks.
Damn that Flip. -- Steven Devadanam
"Thirteen": an awkward age, the missing floor in superstitious high-rise buildings and currently an exhibit featuring University of Houston photography/digital media students displaying their undergraduate arts theses. A wide variety of nascent visions are on view, from Morgan Page's installation based around the literal contents of his closet to the self-described "passive-aggressive" craters-and-all self- portraiture of Amanda Matt. Other pieces include Santos Gaitan's comical computer- animated penguins and Kristen Sprague's headless dolls. "Thirteen" provides lucky art lovers with plenty to chew on. Opening reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16. Exhibit runs though May 7. Negative Space Gallery, 68 Yale. For information, call 713-869-1603. Free. -- Scott Faingold
Get on the Pot
It's a fact of life, and we all do it: drop the kids off at the pool, make snakes, take the Browns to the Super Bowl. And while many this week are consumed with last-minute taxes, Dave Praeger wants you to spend a few minutes on the can thinking about world peace. Seriously. On Poop for Peace Day this Friday, you're encouraged to reflect on the war in Iraq or how you can help your fellow man -- while you're on the throne. It's a nationwide, um, movement that the self-described "poop humorist" is pushing on his Web site. If you think it's time for you to, you know, or get off the pot, check out www.poopreport.com/peace. Free. -- Steven Devadanam