He's a country comedian -- a Stetson-wearin', story-tellin' guitar player from Longview, Texas -- but don't go comparing Rodney Carrington to Jeff Foxworthy or Ray Stevens. Unlike those PG-rated performers, Carrington revels in a raunchiness that would earn him a spot on HBO's Def Comedy Jam, if that show ever decided to book white East Texas rednecks who do routines about shopping at Wal-Mart. Carrington has a new live CD, Hangin' with Rodney, parts of which were recorded at a Dallas comedy club. If you hoot and holler enough, he might just perform one of the highlights of his singing repertoire, "Letter to My Penis." Carrington will be at the Laff Stop, 1952-A West Gray, 524-2333, www.laffstop.com, August 1315. Thursday's show is at 8:30 and costs $10; Friday and Saturday, shows are at 8 and 10:30 and cost $14. (Richard Connelly)
Zydeco, the unique musical genre born on the bayous of Louisiana and our region of Texas, puts that oft-maligned instrument the accordion front and center, and has gained international respect and sold millions of records. Many Zydeco luminaries will be in attendance for The Zydeco Hall of Fame Weekend, with its plethora of events and honors, including a black-tie Creole dinner/induction of eight honorees into the Hall, with entertainment by Rockin' Doopsie Jr., C.J. Chenier and more, the Clifton Chenier Awards, and the Clifton Chenier Zydeco Festival. Proceeds benefit the National Zydeco Society and go toward the construction of a permanent Hall of Fame. Festivities start at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 14 with the dinner. The festival, with Step Rideau and others, is on Saturday, August 15, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Humble Civic Center, Humble, Highway 59 at North Will Clayton Parkway. National Zydeco Society: Reservations and info: (281) 397-9229; www.zydeco.com. (Liz Belile)
With just the slightest hint of plot, Who the Hell Is Juliette? director/cinematographer Carlos Marcovich points his lens at two femmes -- Juliette, a Havana teen who knows the city's alleys like the back of her hand, and Fabiola Quiroz, a melancholy Mexican model -- and documents their deep-seated feelings about their fathers, whom they never knew. The film is kept alive with imagery that takes the viewer into the mindset of Juliette's native Cuba; sea-swept streets, religious rituals, dingy and crumbling neighborhoods, toothless old ladies with cigars and even the eruption of a Michoacan volcano, when Marcovich switches the scene to Fabiola's hometown of Morelia in Michoacan. Juliette was shot in Cuba, Mexico and New York City over a period of three years and for under $20,000. It won the Latin American Cinema Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Who the Hell Is Juliette? The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Part of their "Sabor Latino" series. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Info: 639-7515. $5 General admission. (Michael Bergeron)
The Houston Ebony Opera Guild provides a taste of some of the finer moments in opera with the presentation "Opera Gems." The evening features arias and scenes from Carmen, Aida, Tosca, Pagliacci and music by other European and American composers, as performed by the renowned Guild chorus and solo virtuosos. Critically acclaimed New York soprano Geraldine McMillian, best known for her interpretations of Tosca and Aida, will be making her debut Houston performance tonight. She will also be singing the lead in Ebony Opera Guild's upcoming production of Highway One USA by William Grant Still, "the dean of African-American composers" later this month. "Opera Gems," Sunday, August 14, at 4 p.m. Riverside United Methodist Church, 4920 Cullen Boulevard at North MacGregor. Admission is free; however, donations will be accepted. Info: 529-7664. (Liz Belile)
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Whether you believe in him or not, you must accept that Joe Christ, the New York shock-flick demi-god, is coming back. And he's bringing his program of underground celluloid to Emo's tonight. Former Texan Christ, nee Linhart, wowed audiences at the Axiom in the late '80s with his super-eight short on bloodletting, Communion in Room 410. Since then, he's built a cult following throughout the South, offering scenes from inside a Gothic gold mine of dementia and mutilation, serial killers and drug freak-outs. The latest, Amy Strangled a Small Child, is a tale of "insecurity and bad hygiene." The trash master is pleased with the first of his films to be edited via computer, which made "a big difference in the overall look and feel," he says. Apparently, there is no on-screen violence, cursing or nudity -- another Christ first. Still, he believes it to be his "most disturbing and vile movie yet." Amy Strangled a Small Child and other Christ pieces at Emo's at 9 p.m. Joe and Amy star Amanda B. James will be in attendance. Admission is $3. Info: 523-8503. Visit Joe's site: www. taoweb.com/666/joec. (Michael Bergeron)
Spoken Word Rodeo 'Tis rare indeed that a performer can write; rarer still that a writer can perform. Yet tonight's extravaganza, a "roaming literary road show" at that den of unequivocal cool, Brasil, proves that such a creature, a performance poet, if you will, can and does exist. In fact, here you'll find several of them. A regular troupe, en route to compete at the National Poetry Slam in Austin. This cadre of seasoned SoCal word-slingers consists of Jeffrey McDaniel (author of Alibi School and The Forgiveness Parade, Manic D Press), Ellyn Maybe (on the Rollins 2.13.61 imprint), the hilarious June Melby, publisher/writer Matthew Niblock and champion arguer Derrick Brown. Local bards Christian Nagle (editor of Gulf Coast), Antonio Jocson and Kerry Neville, all earning doctorates in creative writing from U of H, will also perform. Monday, August 17, 7 p.m. at Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy, 528-1993. Free. (Liz Belile)
Tonight will likely be bittersweet for maestro Christoph Eschenbach. On the one hand, he'll be conducting his final performance at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion after ten years as music director of the Houston Symphony; on the other, having to work outdoors during a Houston August isn't exactly a gig to treasure. In any case, Eschenbach and the orchestra will perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, with guest pianist Horacio Gutierrez. If that program sounds familiar, that's because it's the same one Eschenbach conducted to open The Woodlands facility in 1990. Sweatin' to the oldies begins at 8; reserved seats are $10 and $8.50 and lawn seats are $7. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands. Ticket info: 629-3700. Event info: (281) 363-3300. (Richard Connelly)
Ray Hill, the Prison Years Hill has crafted a cottage industry out of rabble-rousing, be it for gay rights, prison reform or the preservation of topless bars and smut stands. This extended revival of the one-man show by the burglar-turned-activist includes Hill's thoughts about "prison life, the 'system' and [his] run-ins with Houston's finest." After a held-over run at the Little Room Downstairs, Hill's show has moved to the Actors Workshop of Houston, 1009 Chartres, where it will play tonight and every Wednesday for a while, 7:30 p.m. Info and reservations: 236-1844. $10/$8 students and seniors. (Clay McNear)