Sam Reveles paints perfectly nice paintings -- sketches based on early Renaissance and Flemish classics. Then he covers them up with layer upon layer of agitated brush strokes and wild color, leaving only a foot, a horn, a tree limb or an eye of the old work peeking through. It would seem to be a literal interpretation of the contrast between the figurative and the abstract, but Reveles won't be categorized so easily. The gestures in the foreground painting often resemble Arabic and tantric calligraphy. The Contemporary Arts Museum presents Reveles's first museum exhibition in the Perspectives Gallery. The artist will present a gallery talk tonight at 6:30 p.m., and the preview reception is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The show is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thursday until 9 p.m.) and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. through June 20. 5216 Montrose, (713)284-8250. Free.
Houston Grand Opera's 24th world premiere is Tod Machover's new opera, Resurrection. The story comes from Leo Tolstoy's final novel of the same name. Prince Dmitry Nekhlyudov is a juror in the trial of a prostitute accused of poisoning one of her clients. It turns out the prostitute, Katerina, is the servant the prince had raped and deserted years ago and whose life he is responsible for ruining. She's wrongly accused but convicted and sent to Siberia. The guilt- and love-stricken prince calls off his engagement, renounces his position and follows Katerina to the prison-wasteland. Now, this is opera, so we can't expect a "happily ever after" main-character marriage in the end. But, in a bold move by Machover, Katerina doesn't die! She chooses to stay in Siberia with the political prisoner she loves. Machover's other operatic innovation is his subtle use of synthesized sounds created by his team at MIT. Resurrection opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and continues April 25, at 2 p.m., and April 28, May 1, 4 and 7, at 7:30 p.m. Brown Theater, Wortham Theater Center, Texas Avenue at Smith Street. Call (713)227-ARTS for tickets, $20 to $175.
Former Doug Elkins dancer Jane Weiner began working with performers Sophia Torres and Sonia Noriega almost immediately after she moved to Houston from New York several years ago. (You may remember Torres dancing with a bucket on her head at last year's Weekend of Contemporary Texas Dance.) Now the dancers have turned choreographers and formed their own company, Psophonia, a mixture of the letters in their first names. In their debut concert, "Personal Space Invasion," Torres and Noriega will perform on church pews to the sounds of a child reciting Hamlet's soliloquy. Weiner will perform as a guest artist in Mark Dendy's Bessie Award-winning Night Moves and in her own pieces, DeuxTango and Infallible Croquet. Tonight and Saturday, April 24, at 8 p.m. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway, (713)716-4261. $12 at the door; $10 with reservations; $8 for students.
America is far from perfect, of course, but it's a lot more easygoing about its imperfections than it was in, say, the '60s. Where are the sit-ins and the walkouts and the psychedelic drugs, free love and poor hygiene that went with them? These days, rebels have only a couple of causes to choose from: the environment and animal rights. And animals are cuter. So say it loud and say it proud: "Bunny rabbits shouldn't die for smudge-proof mascara!" People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Last Chance for Animals, Houston Animal Rights Team and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine will be protesting for World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week outside M.D. Anderson, Fannin at Holcombe, from noon until 2 p.m. And there just might be some free love. Call the Physicians Committee at (281)997-9019 for more information.
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You've fantasized about this moment: Victoria's Secret vixen Stephanie Seymour ... ice skating. But wait, it gets better. Stephanie's skating with supermodel friends Bridget Hall, Kelly Emberg, Ines Rivero, Bonnie Pfeifer, Vendela and Roshumba, and, for as little as $125, you can attempt to ice dance with any one or all of them. These women are DISHES -- Determined Involved Super-role models Helping to End Suffering, the modeling industry's first 501c(3) nonprofit foundation. DISHES on Ice benefits pediatric AIDS organizations such as Camp Hope, Texas's only camp for HIV-positive children. If you really want to help the pretty people in their worthy cause, buy the $1,000 ticket for two. This gets you what the fashion world calls "priority access" and a postskate party at Planet Hollywood. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Galleria Ice Rink, 5015 Westheimer. Call AIDS Foundation Houston at (713)623-6796 for tickets.
Gerald and Sara Murphy were at the beautiful and luxurious center of the art world of all art worlds: 1920s Paris. They entertained Stravinsky, Beckett, Balanchine, Man Ray, Miró and Isadora Duncan. They were the real-life inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night, Ernest Hemingway's Snows of Kilimanjaro and John Dos Passos's Big Money. They were even involved in a love triangle with Pablo Picasso. Gerald threw magical parties, and Sara wore pearls to the beach in a fairy-tale existence that, of course, couldn't last. "It is not the first telling of the tale," said The New York Times Book Review of Amanda Vaill's Murphy biography, Everybody Was So Young, "but it is the most important." Vaill presents an illustrated discussion of her latest book at 7 p.m. Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet. Call (713)523-0701 or go to www.brazosbookstore.com for more information. Free.
Claude Monet once said, "My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece." The garden club experts and professional floral designers involved in Florescence: The Arts in Bloom at the Museum of Fine Arts understand. They're bringing some 400 prized horticultural arrangements into the museum to complement, and perhaps even compete with, the paintings and the sculptures. Many are in fact "interpretations" of the masterpieces in the permanent collection. The plants with "personality" were inspired by Andy Warhol's Self-portrait, austere ikebana spruces up the Japanese screens, and there's no doubt that feminine flowers will blossom in the museum's collection of American portraits of women. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 28. Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, (713)639-7500. $3, adults; $1.50, children.
Nuestra Palabra has been "giving Latino writers their say" with monthly readings, school spotlights, writing classes, internships and art shows for exactly one year today. Now, by city proclamation, Nuestra Palabra has its own day -- and what a day it is. The anniversary reading features actor, activist and author Edward James Olmos (best known for his roles in Selena, Stand and Deliver and television's Miami Vice) and his new project, Americanos. The photo-documentary depicts Latino life -- at work, on the playground, at church, in the flamenco bars, on the streets of New York and the banks of the Rio Grande. The 180 photographs are interspersed with poems by Carlos Fuentes, Cesar Chavez and Maya Angelou, as well as essays by Latino astronauts, cowboys, veterans, musicians, farmers, even White House staffers. Nuestra Palabra's guests will also hear from Premio Aztlan-winning fiction writer Wendell Mayo and American Book Award-winning poet Evangelina Vigil-Pinón. 7 p.m. Talento Bilingue de Houston, 333 South Jensen, next to the old Mercado del Sol. Call (713)743-3252 for more information and to guarantee seating. $10 suggested donation.