For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf debuted on Broadway in 1976, at a time when black women's stories just weren't told on stage. Immediately, women across the country rejoiced at local playwright-poet-professor Ntozake Shange's powerful stories of love, hardship and spirituality. Originally conceived as a series of seven poems, the piece grew from a show on the coffee-shop circuit in the Bay Area into a stage work that has been produced around the world. The show is a "choreo-poem," driven by music and movement. The repercussions of what Shange describes as "bein' alive and bein' a woman and bein' colored" are explored through the words, gestures, dance and music of the seven performers, who shift in and out of different roles. The players utilize movement, words and even guttural sounds to relay what Shange says is "a young black girl's growing up, her triumphs and errors, our struggle to become all that is forbidden by our environment, all that is forfeited by our gender, all that we have forgotten." Looks like Shange hasn't forgotten anything. Show runs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5; and 6 p.m. Sunday, November 6. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets, call 713-315-2525 or visit www.hobbycenter.org. $20 to $40. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc
Pablo's a Party
The man of many faces -- and voices -- stops by the Improv
Comedian Pablo Francisco is essentially that guy at the party who does all the best party tricks (like the guy who can wiggle his ears) and keeps everyone hanging on his every move. His dead-on voices and impressions include send-ups of Jerry Springer, an angsty teenage Latina and "dramatic movie voice-over guy," who leaves his audiences jumpy in anticipation of the next innovative sound effect. But there's more to Francisco than being a human synthesizer. The former MADtv cast member and host of Latino Laugh Festival: The Show has been delivering uniquely animated, off-the-wall stand-up about family, relationships and pop culture since the tender age of 17. See Francisco at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, November 3. Shows continue at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, November 5 and 6. The Improv, 7620 Katy Freeway. For tickets, call 713-333-8800 or visit www.improv.com. $20. -- Mary Templeton
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If your cultural pantry is bare, get what you're hungry for when Hope Stone Inc. presents The Cooking Show, a sensuously rich and delicious cornucopia of dance vignettes, live music, video and theater. The show examines the cultural significance surrounding the rituals of cooking and eating, and the ubiquitous excess of American culture. Before the performance, catch the lobby exhibit "Tower of Food," built entirely of nonperishable items that will be donated to hurricane victims. 8 p.m. Saturday, November 5, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 6. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For tickets and information, call 713-526-1907 or visit www.hopestoneinc.org. $25; $20 with donation of at least five nonperishable items. -- Mary Templeton
What would you get if you took some seedy players of the defunct metal rawk powerhouse Kyuss and mixed them with members of Queens of the Stone Age? Not exactly the sexiest group photo, admittedly, but some seriously kick-ass punk rock. Mondo Generator, fronted by QOTSA's Nick Oliveri, hits town to push its latest album, A Drug Problem That Never Existed, at 8 p.m. Friday, November 4. Engine Room, 1515 Pease. For tickets, call 713-654-7846 or visit www.engineroomhouston.net. $12. -- Steven Devadanam