The San Francisco-based Alonzo King LINES Ballet makes its Houston debut on Friday with two works that epitomize King's interest in creating movement that explores the real and the tangible, as does much of the company's work. "The term LINES alludes to all that is visible in the phenomenal world," King says via press materials. "There is nothing that is made or formed without line. Straight and circle encompass all that we see. Whatever can be seen is formed by line."
The program opens with 2011's Resin, a dance that alternates between duet and quartet work. The movement is seamless, the bodies of the dancers more liquid than solid mass, just like the trancelike Sephardic music it is set to. An exciting feature is King's suggestion of genderless pas de deux work, as men partner men and women partner women. The real showcase becomes the human body, dressed in minimal garments, and all of its beautiful permutations.
Then there's the 2009 Scheherazade, a reimagining of One Thousand and One Nights and the 1888 music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The original music is an unmistakably Russian creation with digressions into Eastern motifs, but King uses a score that has been reworked by Zakir Hussain. Hussain, a master of the tabla, brings new life to Rimsky-Korsakov's music with the addition of traditional Persian instrumentation. Both pieces place specific importance on the real and the tangible, in the vein of much of the company's work.
See the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Houston debut at 8 p.m. Friday. Wortham Center's Cullen Theater, 500 Texas. For information, call 713‑227‑4772 or visit spahouston.org. $23 to $58.
Artist T. Smith had a little trouble with the models that appear in The Waiting Room series. "Some days they just wouldn't cooperate," the artist, recently named a Houston Press 100 Creatives, says. "At first I called them 'the girls,' but when they started being difficult, I changed that to 'the bitches.' They could be real bitches, too." Since Smith's models were mannequins, we're not sure how literally to take that statement. Come to think of it, Smith worked with photographs of mannequins; that really calls into question the level of bitchiness the models displayed.
The 15 mannequins are seen in the 11 paintings that make up the Friday night exhibit "T. Smith: The Waiting Room." Painted in various shades of blue and silver against a red background, the female figures are seen unsmiling, without clothes or hair. Smith says that while there's no definite narrative for the series, there is a sense of foreboding to the images. "They're bald, they're not smiling, they're all bunched up together and they're naked. You know something is going on there, even if you don't know quite what."
See "T. Smith: The Waiting Room" 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. JoMar Visions, Hardy & Nance Studios, 902 Hardy. For information, visit tsmithartist.com. Free.
From its funky, hodgepodge origins to its current state as an art gathering known around the world, the Houston Art Car Parade is certainly one of the city's signature events. No longer just a parade, it has evolved into the Houston Art Car Parade Weekend. "Over the last five years, the parade has really developed into an entire weekend of activities. From ... the Legendary Art Car Ball on Friday evening, culminating with the parade on Saturday," says Jonathan Beitler, Barrelhouse Media publicist. "There are multiple opportunities for the public to get up close and personal with the cars, meet their artists and celebrate this unique type of art."
This year's parade -- with Houston Mayor Annise Parker as the grand marshal -- will feature some 100 brand-new, never-before-seen cars. And while spots in the parade are hard to come by, artists are not as competitive as you may think. "The community of artists that participate in this parade are very supportive of each other," Beitler says. "In fact, we find that individuals compete against [themselves] to build something more outrageous, beautiful or mind-blowing year after year."
On Friday the Legendary Art Car Ball, hosted by Artemis Pebdani from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is at 7 p.m. One and Two Allen Center, 1200 Smith. On Saturday, the Houston Art Car Parade Starting Line Party begins at 10 a.m., music starts at the FPSF stage at 11 a.m., the VIPit Party is at 1 p.m. and the parade begins at 2 p.m. Allen Parkway. On Sunday, the Houston Art Car Parade Awards Ceremony and Brunch is at 11 a.m. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger. For information, call 713‑926‑6368 or visit thehoustonartcarparade.com. Prices vary.
Halloween is still some six months away, but the appeal of zombies, vampires, werewolves and freaks of nature is not limited to the holiday, as seen on Saturday in Dr. Dead's Halfway to Halloween CarnEVIL. The carnival features sideshows, live music, belly dancers, magicians, burlesque and fire performers and an appearance by Erik "The Lizardman" Sprague. Seen in Ripley's Believe it or Not, The Lizardman has undergone nearly 700 hours of tattooing and had his tongue forked to look reptilian.
"It is definitely a different kind of creepiness than a haunted house, as a haunted house is more of a physical scare," says organizer Jay Braggart. "The sideshow is more of a psychological creepy watching, wondering what will happen and then when it does, wondering why or how!" Traditional sideshow features like sword swallowing, balloon artists, face painting, a dunk tank and even a good old-cotton candy vendor will exist side by side with CarnEVIL's more macabre offerings.
Get in the Halloween spirit six months early at 4 p.m. Saturday. Eastdown Warehouse, 850 McKee. For information, call 832‑316‑5803. $15.(Costumed visitors get $5 off admission.)
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Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros used his social realist work to promote his ideas and opinions. The hardcore Stalinist and member of the Mexican Communist Party -- a contemporary of Diego Rivera and José Orozco -- often worked in large fresco murals. "Siqueiros was a passionate humanist, and his art tackled the most pressing socialistic and political issues of the day," says Gus Kopriva of Redbud Gallery, which is showcasing "Mexican Master David Alfaro Siqueiros," including viewing on Sunday.
"His subject matter included portraits of famous figures, the great strength of the peasantry and later experiments with surrealism. He was a master of the use of earth-tone colors." Kopriva adds that Siqueiros's life and work were unique in that he was able to establish himself as a force in extreme politics and simultaneously have a successful career in the fields of writing, painting, watercolors, lithographs, woodcuts and murals. "Many artists talk and create art based on political and social issues," Kopriva offers. "He was one of the very few that actually made a difference. He walked the walk."
See "Mexican Master David Alfaro Siqueiros" noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. Through June 1. The Redbud Gallery, 303 East 11th. For information, call 713‑862‑2532 or visit redbudgallery.com. Free.
Adam Castaneda and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.