Turkey and Raspberries

Boo and hiss as local storytellers stink up the joint

SAT 8/6
Can't tell if you're a tepee or a wigwam? Maybe you're just "two tents." Ha! Groaning yet? At the Turkey Awards, the Houston Storytellers Guild's annual fund-raising dinner, such rude behavior is allowed -- along with booing, heckling and the throwing of plastic fruit for the worst jokes, puns and shaggy-dog stories people can muster. "Some people are too shy to get up in front of people and tell a story," says organizer Brian Herod, "but most folks can tell a joke." Participants are allowed five minutes in which to deliver the most eye-roll-worthy tale. First place will receive a frozen-solid turkey (Herod admits it's actually a Cornish hen); second place gets a fruitcake; and third place wins a Moon Pie and an RC Cola, which the winner is encouraged to devour right on the spot.

Herod says the event is an opportunity for people to feel what storytelling is about, even for a few minutes, and without the atmosphere of a professional yarn-spinning session. It's a license to fail, even: The winner is determined by the loudest boos and raspberries. 7 p.m. Saturday, August 6. Grace Lutheran Church, 2515 Waugh Drive. For information, call 713-827-2620 or visit www.houstonstorytellers.org. Admission starts at $10. -- Troy Schulze

All That Jazz

Brian Herod
Robert Kelly
Courtesy of Robert Kelly
Robert Kelly
Cecil Trent and Ananka Kohnitz in Love Sucks
Mimi Holloway
Cecil Trent and Ananka Kohnitz in Love Sucks

Soak up the diverse flavors at this annual festival

Houston's music scene is so diverse that an Amish, klezmer-playing speed-metal singer-songwriter could probably find a gig. But for some reason (and despite the best efforts of Ken Burns), jazz has gotten short shrift in terms of exposure and popularity. The 15th annual Houston International Jazz Festival aims to promote not only the music as a whole but also its seemingly endless subgenres. The three nightly shows each bring different national headliners and will encompass Asian (Hiroshima), Latin (Tito Puente Jr., Norma Zenteno) and the much-maligned smooth (Guitars & Saxes, Mindi Abair) styles. Pop jazzers Warren Hill and Jeff Golub and local legend Bubbha Thomas also will grace the stage. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6; 7 p.m. Sunday, August 7. Verizon Wireless Theater, 500 Texas. For tickets and a schedule, call 713-839-7000 or visit www.jazzeducation.org. $25 to $35. -- Bob Ruggiero

Killer Kelly

Interesting that East Coast comedian Robert Kelly is coming back to Houston so soon, considering that when he performed here two months ago, he tore an audience member a new one for showing stone-faced disdain during a routine. "If you don't like my humor, get the fuck out!" he bellowed, before bashing the guy and his "fuckin' Six Feet Under personality." Kelly stops by this week to riff on pop culture and, just maybe, to make you his bitch in front of a live audience. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, August 4; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For tickets, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $15 to $19. -- Craig D. Lindsey

Attention Deficit Theater

Call it theater for the ADHD set. At Theatre Southwest's eighth annual Festival of Originals, you can catch five 25-minute plays penned by local writers. Look for comedies such as Coming Back to Jersey, about a Jewish tailor with an overactive imagination, and Love Sucks, about how a woman hawking vacuum cleaners exposes some family dirt. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 5 and 6. 8944 Clarkcrest. For tickets and reservations, call 713-661-9505. $12 to $14. -- Steven Devadanam

 
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