Poet Marie Brown is a smooth, jazzy poet who scats with a Billie Holiday-esque grace. But behind her grace is a subtle fury. The San Antonio native started writing poetry as a ten-year-old, in part to diss her "evil stepmother." More recently, in 2003, she pointedly attacked advocacy groups like the NAACP, LULAC and even the Black Panthers for their silence when two Hispanic boys were shot and killed by Houston police. "Are the boys not colored enough?" she asked in her fiery piece, "Two Less Birthdays." Brown was the first woman to make the highly competitive Houston Slam Team. It was no easy trip. "Somebody shot me the finger one time," she recalls of the tryouts. "Stuff like that doesn't bother me. In fact, I feed off of the negativity." Her 2003 critically acclaimed album Ruby Do Hair, about hair and relationships, sealed her fame.
At a show featuring live poetry, music and dance, Brown will perform selections from her new CD, Home Grown. "I hear so many people say they don't like spoken word," she says. "I like to show them that spoken word can be like music. You gotta have some flavor to it." 8 p.m. Friday, July 15. Third Ward Multi-Service Center, 3611 Ennis. For information, call 713-527-4005 or visit www.marie-brown.com. $8 presale; $10 at the door. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc
What's All the Noise?
Find out when Pedestrian Deposit makes a bang
You may be familiar with the biblical exhortation to make a "joyful noise unto the Lord." Now, the Californian "abrasive electronics unit" Pedestrian Deposit certainly makes a noise, but that still leaves open the question of joyfulness, as well as who it's being made unto. Many of the Deposit's releases are printed in extremely limited editions (only 25 copies were made of the 2004 Live Lungmotor cassette), which perhaps bespeaks the band's realistic view of its own commercial potential. Some Pedestrian Deposit music is finely honed sound-sculpture, while other stuff is old-school industrial bang und drang. There's no way to guarantee what to expect when they roll into Super Happy Fun Land this week, but even the deity himself is advised not to forget the earplugs. 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 19. 2610 Ashland. For tickets, call 713-880-2100 or visit www.superhappyfunland.com. $6. -- Scott Faingold
Oh, they got trouble, right there in River City. Sure, there's domestic issues, race relations and maybe too much seersucker for one town, but the real corrupter of Midwestern morality is spelled P-O-O-L. In the much-loved show The Music Man, "professor" Harold Hill aims (read: schemes) to save us from the sins of billiards. His answer? Start up a citywide marching band! Things get interesting when the bandleader/grifter falls for the small-town charms of Marian the Librarian. But who can blame him? We hear that mousy, bespectacled librarians are beastsin the sack. Show runs at 8:15 p.m. from Monday, July 18, through July 23. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-558-2600 or visit www.tuts.com. Free. -- Bob Ruggiero
Jim Gaffigan may be the second-funniest goofy white guy from Indiana in the world of comedy (the first being, natch, one David Letterman). Known as a squeaky-clean comic, Gaffigan will offer his takes on everyday life -- like the oddity that is room service -- this week at the Laff Stop. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16. 1952 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713- 524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $15.50 to $20. -- Steven Devadanam