Our choices for best events this weekend include a dance performance, two new art exhibits and two classic films. (Well, we're being generous with the term "classic" there. Camp might be a better term for one of them, but hey, we try not to judge. Labels can be so hurtful.)
To start with on Friday is Jamie Frugé's Integration, a new work by the Frenetic Theater Artist Board member. Although she’s no stranger to the Houston dance community, Frugé is making her choreographic debut here. After a stint in Los Angeles attending the University of Southern California, professionally designing costumes and styling celebrities, Frugé has returned to her first love: dance. A native Houstonian, Frugé is currently a candidate for a master of fine arts degree in dance from Sam Houston State University; she received her early education from such institutions as Houston Ballet and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Integration is a multimedia production that combines projection, costume and lighting designs with movement. The show’s narrative is inspired by Orwell’s ominous 1984 as well as the current state of Earth’s natural resources — specifically water. “I wonder all the time what life will be like when we finally deplete [the Earth] of the resources necessary for survival. It definitely will not be a pretty place,” says Frugé.
In tackling such a complex story line, Frugé relied on her team: Lighting Designer J. Mitchell Cronin, Costume Designer and friend Marissa Marsh, and Integration’s cast of dancers. “Their ideas and the dedication to the project has really made everything in my brain come to life,” says Frugé.
See Jamie Frugé's Integration at 8 p.m. Friday. Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 832-387-7440 or visit freneticore.net. $15.
And now we get to the camp part of the weekend, which comes from a couple of surprising sources. On Friday, Gregory Boyd, artistic director of the Alley Theatre (you know, the company that won a Regional Theatre Tony Award and does serious theater), introduces a screening of Theatre of Blood for the Houston Cinema Arts Society Artist Choice Film Series (Cinema Arts Society isn't known for having a high-camp factor in its presentations, either).
HCAS asked Boyd for his favorite film about theater for the one-night screening. “I have a lot of those,” Boyd tells us via e-mail. His choice? The horror comedy Theatre of Blood with Vincent Price as an overwrought actor who kills his critics in restaged scenes from Shakespeare.
“I chose it for three reasons: It’s besotted with the theater in a particularly sly and gruesome way. It’s got Vincent Price in it — and I’ve been an enthusiast since I got his autograph when I was a 13-year-old fan/geek. And, grisly pound for pound, no pun intended, it’s full of the greatest groaner Shakespeare jokes around.”
Boyd says he has a favorite among the film’s giggle-worthy and gruesome deaths. “I love the murder of ‘Chloe Moon,’ electrocuted by her hair curlers, since she’s played by Coral Browne — who met Price while working on the film, and married him — so romantic.”
Vincent Price starts killing people at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy. For information, call 7134290420 or visit cinemartsociety.org. Free.
Another choice for Friday is the new art exhibit “Blooming Dreams and Fading Memories: Recent Ceramic Sculptures by Bernadette Esperanza Torres.”
Torres spent her childhood making arrangements with dead flowers. Her father was a florist, and she wasn’t allowed to use the fresh ones. It’s no wonder her sculptures incorporate floral imagery. “My dad would always give us flowers for our birthday,” says Torres. “For a short time, they’re memorable and blooming and at the peak. People are like flowers — give them tenderness, water, food, watch them grow. [Like] watching my students bloom with their creativity.”
We’ll see ceramics and drawings from her Sisters and Dream Clusters series in her solo exhibit — a Texas premiere — at the University of Houston-Clear Lake Art Gallery, “Blooming Dreams and Fading Memories: Recent Ceramic Sculptures by Bernadette Esperanza Torres.”
“The ‘sister’ pieces are hand-built soft slab. All of my pieces are autobiographical. My middle name is Esperanza, which actually translates into hope; my younger sister’s name is Charity,” Torres says about the works, which also reference her Roman Catholic background. “They represent our different personalities. I focus more on the face, so I put all of the emotion into the eyes.
“The ‘dream clusters’ are actually thrown on the wheel, and I also manipulate them, hand-built. They’re angels, devils, cheerleaders giving direction; my subconscious is speaking to me as I’m dreaming.”
In addition to 31 sculptures, some of which have never been seen before, the exhibit also contains self-portraits and autobiographical graphite drawings on wood.
There’s an artist’s talk with Torres at 6 p.m. on October 7. Regular viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays; 9 a.m. to noon Fridays. Through October 22. 2700 Bay Area. For information, call 281-283-3311 or visit uhcl.edu/artgallery. Free.
The second art exhibit in our list of five best things to do this weekend and our suggestion for a Saturday visit is “Texas Design Now.”
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston has rounded up 35 innovative visual artists of a different kind for its new exhibit. Well-connected guest organizers Chris Goins (Kuhl-Linscomb, Tootsies, MFAH) and design guru Garrett Hunter, with assistance from CAMH Curator Dean Daderko and Curatorial Associate Patricia Restrepo, have assembled a dynamic exhibit of art that’s worn, sat upon and used in other ways not usually seen in museum exhibits. The show features quite a few surprises.
“We’ll be featuring Johnny Dang Diamond Grillz — the kind that fit over the teeth of celebrities,” Daderko said about the diamond-, emerald- and ruby-encrusted fashions worn by Beyoncé, Paris Hilton, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne and Kanye West. Look for works from Project Runway winner Chloe Dao, textile and clothing designer Kate de Para, and Dennis Nance with James Hays (Weird Wear), as well as social-minded entities.
“There’s an organization called the Community Cloth, based in southwest Houston, that works with refugees from Burma, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sudan and Iran,” said Daderko. Those scarves, handwoven from thread using a traditional backstrap loom, are part of a sustainable project that empowers the women while preserving their cultural heritage.
For home and office, there’s Garza Marfa (Western modern), Austin’s Warbach (bespoke lighting) and Finell (neo luxe housewares), and Wimberley sculptor Michael Wilson. “His furniture has sexy, sinewy lines,” Daderko said of the polished wood forms that are as attractive as they are functional.
There’s an opening reception 6:30 to 9 p.m. August 21. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Through November 29. 5216 Montrose. For information, call 713-284-8250 or visit camh.org. Free.
Okay, this is the classic film we mentioned before, The Third Man. It's set for a Sunday screening at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as part of the Restorations & Revivals series.
More than once, Orson Welles needed money for a movie. Having been unceremoniously booted out of Hollywood, amazingly after creating such classics as Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), the spectacularly undisciplined O.W. ventured into independent production as actor and/or director.
He did well for a while, acting in Jane Eyre (1943) and Tomorrow Is Forever with Claudette Colbert (1946). He directed and starred in The Stranger (1946) with Loretta Young and The Lady From Shanghai (1947) with soon-to-be ex-wife Rita Hayworth. When Macbeth (1948) was stuck in limbo at Republic Pictures, Welles left the editing to the craftsmen on Poverty Row when he went to Europe to work. His partner there was movie producer Alexander Korda, all of whose projects quickly fell apart. Welles had already started production in Italy on his Othello (finally released in 1952), but his profligacy and Don Quixote-like existence were putting that project in jeopardy. He needed funds fast.
That’s when English director Carol Reed (The Fallen Idol; Odd Man Out; later, Academy Award-winning director for Oliver!) hired Welles to play Harry Lime for Graham Greene’s cold war film noir set in Vienna, The Third Man (1949). It was one of Korda’s pet projects that finally came to fruition. Welles jumped at the opportunity. (His $100,000 acting fee would get Othello back on track.)
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Lime became one of Welles’s most iconic characters: a shady, amoral war profiteer in one of the best thrillers ever made. Jagged and edgy, shot on a shoestring budget in rubble-strewn Vienna, Reed’s movie is classic and iconic, with Robert Krasker’s Academy Award-winning black and white cinematography composed of rain-soaked streets, ballooning shadows and gray skies, and Anton Karas’s eerie score that uses only zither.
The cast included Joseph Cotten as an innocent American and Lime’s friend, Alida Valli as Lime’s lover and, best of all, Trevor Howard as the masculine, nail-hard British Army policeman who must educate Cotten on Lime’s depravity.
Catch The Third Man at 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; 5 p.m. Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/films. $9.
Ashley Clos, Susie Tommaney and D.L. Groover contributed to this post.