Warning: Band may induce seizures
The Faint comes out of Omaha, Nebraska -- not the most likely city to spawn one of the best electronic/rock acts since the Human League or New Order. Originally conceived as a low-fi rock outfit, the five-piece group gradually became interested in the electronic instruments and retro sounds that define its current obsession: Reagan-era new wave. The '80s musical style permeates the group's two most recent albums, 1999's Blank-Wave Arcade and 2001's Danse Macabre. The Faint's pulsating, danceable rhythms and smart keyboard hooks create a surprisingly fresh contrast to the group's melancholy lyrics, which are littered with tales of alienation, sexual frustration and the creepier side of club life.But the Faint's club culture fixation really takes hold in its explosive live shows, where the band augments its mesmerizing sounds with video and seizure-inducing lights perfectly synchronized to the music. Drawback: The Faint's unruly stage antics have caused accidents. At a recent gig, rock star pageantry landed guitarist Dapose in the hospital when he took a mike stand in the face from front man Todd Baechle. Doors open at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 26. Numbers, 300 Westheimer. For information, call 713-526-6551. $12. -- Troy Schulze
Become an Expert on South Indian Culture
Three hundred performers and three hours should be sufficient to give Houstonians a crash course in South Indian culture. This weekend's megaproduction, Sights and Sounds of South India, highlights the region's five diverse states. "Karnataka, TamiNadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and the Konkan coast all have different languages, culture and food," says Vatsa Kumar of Houston Kannada Vrinda, the South Indian cultural heritage organization putting on the show. "That's the beauty of this program." The event will be packed with shows; somehow, there will even be time for Sri Krishna Darshana, an Indian epic about the Hindu god told through dance. 8 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 100 Concert Drive. For information, visit . Free. -- Marene Gustin
It Ain't Chekhov
Three Jewish sisters gather in London to celebrate a birthday. One's a banker, one's a journalist, and one's a talk show host. Imagine the shenanigans! Theatre Southwest takes on The Royal Rosensweigs or, no, The Sisters Tenenbaum. Okay, seriously, it's The Sisters Rosensweig, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wassersweig. Sorry, Wasserstein. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Saturday, May 3. Theatre Southwest, 8944 Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505. $12 to $14. -- Troy Schulze
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You might reasonably expect the Laff Stop's Bathroom Graffiti event to have something to do with, well, bathroom graffiti, but that's not the case. The show for local amateur comedians is connected to toilet scribblings only in the sense that, like graffiti artists, the jokesters have something to say. The funny guys and gals performing at this weekend's show all started out at the club's Monday-night open-mike events, where they got seven or eight minutes on stage. Now they've been asked to perform at Bathroom Graffiti for 20 minutes. "If you know anything about comedy," says Laff Stop operations manager Mickey Redwan, "that's a long time to stand in front of people and tell jokes." 8:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For information, call 713-524-2333 or visit www.laffstop.com. $8.50. -- Cathy Matusow