George Carlin
George Carlin
Jerold Hamza

Carlin the Shots

SAT 10/1
In real life, he'd be just another cranky old man. But armed with a microphone and an acerbic wit, 68-year-old George Carlin is known as an edgy performer. The caustic comic -- who spent time in rehab this year thanks to a love affair with "wine and Vicodin" -- keeps no sacred cow safe, often sending paying audience members stomping for the door. That's exactly what happened in Houston a few years ago when he decided to do a rap about cancer victims. An occasional actor and a best-selling author (When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?), Carlin is most at home prowling the stage like a rabid attack dog. Expect an act that takes on organized religion, post-9/11 "patriotism" and professional parents. "I figured out years ago that the human species is totally fucked and has been for a long time," he says on his Web site. "But the trick, folks, is not to give a fuck. Like me. I really don't care." Keep hope alive! And those original "seven dirty words"? He now has 2,433 of them online. We're guessing at least a couple thousand of them were helped along by all the wine and Vicodin. Dennis Blair opens. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, October 1. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For tickets, call 713-629-3700 or visit $37.50 to $52.50. -- Bob Ruggiero

Bog Wild

Mildred's Umbrella revives a crazy witch



FRI 9/30
That no-account child-killer and witch Medea is back to her old tricks again. In Mildred's Umbrella's production of Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats, the tragic Greek heroine is incarnated as Hester Swayne, a woman who's been betrayed and deserted by her mother and, like another famous Hester, has no father for her child -- all of which cause her to go understandably batty and seek a path of vengeance. Amid the mysterious landscape of the bogs of rural Ireland, Swayne encounters a senile priest, ghosts, arson and mayhem. Throw in bloody murder and some dark humor, and you've got one crazy night. Show opens at 8 p.m. Friday, September 30, and runs through October 22. Midtown Arts Center, 3414 La Branch. For reservations and showtimes, call 832-418-0973. $10. -- Mary Templeton

Twelve Drummers Drumming

Don't tape your windows: The thunder you hear this weekend is simply the sixth annual Grand Taiko Festival taking the stage. Taiko, sometimes referred to as the heartbeat of Japan and its people, integrates traditional dance with flashy performers pounding massive, five-foot-wide drums. According to Japanese legend, this dynamic art form seduced the ancient sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami into illuminating the world. The 12 drummers of Kaminari Taiko join Japanese classical dance master Takahamaryu Mitsujuroku to create an experience that really resonates. Latino Gypsy jazz band Mezclan and comedian Mo Amer open at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-284-8350 or visit Free. -- Mary Templeton

Congressional Calor

THU 9/29
Now here's an act of Congress we can get behind (and shake our behinds to): The Houston Salsa Congress 2005 features four days of performances and dance workshops at various spots around town. Some of the best dancers and instructors from New York City, Los Angeles and even Mexico and Colombia will join local dancers, so show 'em how to shake it H-town-style from Thursday, September 29, through Sunday, October 2. For a complete schedule and list of venues, visit Free. -- Steven Devadanam


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