21 Best Things to Do in Houston This Week: Jazz on Film, Humans as Pantone Colors

Brazilian artist Angelica Dass assigns Pantone swatch colors to 250 people from around the world in "HUMANAE: Work in Progress" at The Health Museum.EXPAND
Brazilian artist Angelica Dass assigns Pantone swatch colors to 250 people from around the world in "HUMANAE: Work in Progress" at The Health Museum.
Photo by Juan Miguel Ponce. Valencia

Tuesday, May 30

No matter how big our box of Crayola® crayons, one of life's early lessons was that there really wasn't a skin-colored crayon in the box.
Government pencil-pushers try to shove us into buckets of white, black and other, but that doesn't reflect the world around us. Now, a new exhibit at The Health Museum explores skin color through the Pantone swatchbook: "HUMANAE: Work in Progress." Making its Houston debut, the exhibit pairs photographs of people with their corresponding Pantone swatch color. Whether you're a middle-of-the-road 53-7 C, an ultra-pale 99-9 C or a glorious 318-5 C, it's a fascinating way to explore human identity and race. Brazilian artist Angelica Dass is the creative and conceptual designer for this ingenious exhibit that features 250 portraits from around the world. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. May 5 through September 5. 1515 Hermann Drive. For information, call 713-521-1515 or visit thehealthmuseum.org. Free to $10. – Susie Tommaney

Imagine Act III of La Bayadère, “Kingdom of the Shades” — 32 ballerinas in identical, classic white tutus. Now imagine those iconic, thousand-dollar garments soaking in a kiddie pool with dish soap before being hosed down. Laura Lynch, head of costumes for Houston Ballet’s wardrobe department, will share these behind-the-scenes peeks and a little history about the quintessential ballet costume in the Dance Talks lecture Tutus Inside/Out. The tutu has certainly evolved, from the long skirts worn in Catherine de’ Medici’s court ballet in 1581 to the pinned-up skirts Russian ballerinas wore to expose their legs (despite being fined for it) 300 years later, to the unconventional designs of today. “The sky’s the limit to what you want to do, [even if] you want to use your standard hooping and use clear vinyl to make a tutu. But that would not be comfortable,” says Lynch, laughing. 7 p.m. May 30. Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston. For information, call 713-523-6300 or visit houstonballet.org. Free. – Natalie de la Garza

Wednesday, May 31

Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man, still leaves an impact on modern culture. The man who painted, designed and wrote took on a host of other projects, and his legacy is immortalized — at least for a few months — at Moody Gardens’ Da Vinci: The Exhibition. The showcase is a hands-on examination of his life, research and art featuring more than 60 fully built, life-size inventions, more than 20 fine art studies and dozens of stunning displays. “You can see how his work and discovery started and where we are now…how forward-thinking he was for his time and how those ideas are with us now,” says public relations coordinator Ashley Tompkins. May 27 through May 29, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; May 30 through June 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; starting June 3, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Through January 8. Moody Gardens, Inc., One Hope Boulevard. For information, call 1-800-582-4673 or visit moodygardens.org. Free to $14.95. – Sam Byrd

Upcoming Events

Courtney Maum has worked some of the coolest jobs imaginable. She's been a trend forecaster, a party promoter for Corona Extra and is currently thinking up product names for M•A•C Cosmetics. The Connecticut resident also is a novelist (I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You) and is out with a new novel that draws from those early years as a trend forecaster. In Touch, main character Sloane Jacobsen gained notoriety from predicting "the swipe," and soon tech-giant Mammoth brings her on board for a six-month contract. Jacobsen senses that the mainstream is pulling away from technology, which isn't cool with the bosses, and then her partner announces he's going to publish an op-ed piece on the death of penetrative sex. Say what? Come hear more about this never-boring novel about modern problems during a conversation and book signing at Brazos Bookstore. 7 p.m. May 31. 2421 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-523-0701 or visit brazosbookstore.com. Free. – Susie Tommaney

Thursday, June 1

Hieronymus Bosch knew how to paint freaky. Five hundred years later, we're all still shocked and fascinated by his paintings and so when the Het Noordbrabants Museum in the southern Netherlands brought together a large portion of his paintings and drawings, it attracted almost half a million visitors. For those of us who couldn't make it to Bosch's home town of Den Bosch to see the magnificent and macabre in person, the cinematic folks at Armchair Travel: Exhibition on Screen captured the exhibit in The Curious World of Hieronymus Bosch, directed by David Bickerstaff. Learn more about how he bridged the medieval and Renaissance worlds, where his unconventional ideas originated, and the mysterious life of this true visionary. 2 p.m. June 1 and June 4. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $7 to $9. – Susie Tommaney

The son of an Indian tiger hunter moves to Chicago and resorts to extremes to impress his childhood crush; Gook takes a look at the L.A. riots from the perspective of two Korean-American brothers trying to defend their store; and Breathin’ documents Eddy Zheng who, at 16, was the youngest prisoner at San Quentin. It’s all part of this year’s Houston Asian American & Pacific Islander Film Festival, rebranded a few years ago as HAAPI Fest. Steven Wu, the festival’s co-director, tells us that HAAPI has grown in its 13 years from being a passive film festival that just shows and screens to an active one for the next generation. “We’re going to have a high-school-student filmmaker workshop,” says Wu. “We close out the festival with our arts-night program; it’s a talent performance with singers, dancers, martial artists and comedians; just a fun night.” 6:15 p.m. June 1, Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore. The festival continues June 2-3 and June 9-10 at four other venues. For information, visit ocahouston.org/haapiff-2017/films. Free to $30. – Susie Tommaney

To anyone who remembers reading a certain dystopian George Orwell novel in sophomore English class (or who knows it only through the cultural legacy of “Big Brother”), director Tom Stell wants you to know Obsidian’s upcoming production of 1984 is far from a “go and take your medicine” kind of show. Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation starts at the end, with state-cog-turned-rebel Winston Smith’s capture; the audience, front and center, is complicit in the interrogation and conversion process as the actors on stage re-enact Winston’s diary of treason and sedition. “It still addresses the underlying aspect of government basically being the end-all, be-all of society,” says Stell. “It’s pretty amazing to think you could write a novel in 1949 and it could be completely relevant today.” 8 p.m. June 1. Also 8 p.m. June 2-3, 8-12, 15-16; 3 p.m. June 4; 2 and 8 p.m. June 17. Obsidian Theater, 3522 White Oak. For information, call 832-889-7837 or visit obsidiantheater.org. $15 to $30. – Natalie de la Garza

Friday, June 2

Fall in love with dance all over again in this inspiring choreography by Teresa Chapman. The concept for "Balance" originated a couple of years ago when Chapman was working with senior citizens to enhance physical stability through balance and creative movement. Those games resulted in pure joy for the non-dancers, reminding Chapman why she chose to make a life in dance. Chapman Dance gave us a preview last September at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, set against the ethereal backdrop of Jae Ko's sublime "flow." Now the evening-length piece is being presented at The MATCH over a two-night run. 8 p.m. June 2 and June 3. 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit chapmandance.com. $15 to $22. – Susie Tommaney

We hear Vietnam and instantly think of the region affected by almost 20 years of war, but now an artist collective based out of Ho Chi Minh and Los Angeles is trying to rebrand the country by creating a new mythology for the present. “The Propeller Group” founders Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Phu Nam Thuc Ha and Matt Lucero, who also run an advertising agency named TPG, have chosen to work in a new terrain that erases the line between fine art and media. The exhibit includes seven multi-part projects, including a look at the fake antiques trade in Vietnam, a communist propaganda ad campaign, and the parallels between the funeral rituals of south Vietnam and those of New Orleans. Their first feature-length flick, AK-47 vs. M16, The Film, builds on a series of sculptures inspired by war. “They decided to shoot an AK-47 against an M16 and the bullets collide in these blocks of [ballistic-gel],” says Javier Sanchez Martinez, the curatorial fellow responsible for overseeing the installation. Martinez says the film (which screens once a week) edits scenes from Hollywood movies, promotional videos and YouTube clips to form a background with the guns in the foreground serving as the main characters. Opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. June 2. Continuing 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. June 3 through October 1. Blaffer Art Museum, 120 Fine Arts Building. For information, call 713-743-9521 or visit blafferartmuseum.org. Free. – Susie Tommaney

From humble beginnings to Houston’s finest, improvisers Autumn Clack and Ruth McCleskey have seen each other through it all. Now, after 12 years of friendship and five years as the duo Ophelia’s Rope, the comedy best buds are starring in Still Together: The Ophelia’s Rope Anniversary Show at Rec Room. “Our very first scene together is actually what inspired our name,” says Clack, laughing, before McCleskey finishes the thought: “As any new improviser knows, it’s hard getting onstage. It’s overwhelming. So we both got pushed onstage, stared at each other and just did separate activities, ’cause that’s what you do when you don’t know what to do.” Before long, Clack concludes, the two found themselves jumping rope: “It was this epic, silent playground battle between two children battling to be the best jump-roper. That was how it started.” Far from finished, this anniversary show just continues to tighten the bond of the Boiling Point producers, who vow original music, a few special guest stars and maybe even some queso. 8 p.m. June 2 and June 3. 100 Jackson. For information, call 713-344-1291 or visit recroomhtx.com. $10 to $20. – Vic Shuttee

What’s that shaking underneath your feet? That’s just Earthquake making his usual rounds to H-Town for a little stand-up weekend at Houston Improv. The 53-year-old actor and radio DJ was in town as recently as February, as part of the Comedy Bowl celebration at TSU with Ricky Smiley and more, but now the joker has the spotlight all to himself and seems likely to bring his iconic “These ain’t jokes” mentality in all its glory. Known for his numerous film and TV roles (including memorable spots as Uncle Mike on Everybody Hates Chris, Wanda Sykes’s husband in Kevin Smith’s Clerks II, and Karl in Ice Cube’s The Longshots), Earthquake also has a number of famous fans including The View’s Whoopi Goldberg and Shaquille O’Neal, who produced The All-Star Comedy Jam co-starring Earthquake, DL Hughley, Arnez J and Lavell Crawford. 8 and 10:30 p.m. June 2; 7 and 9:30 p.m. June 3; and 7:30 p.m. June 4. Houston Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit improvhouston.com. $25. – Vic Shuttee

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