The Top 5 Things to Do in Houston this Weekend: "Exile" at El Rincón Social, Comedian Kathleen Madigan and More
Artwork by David Salinas
Some artists hope to show viewers beauty. Others aim to explore erosion and decay. "Exile," a multidisciplinary exhibit on Friday, seeks to showcase the frayed edges of our society. On display will be a massive photographic work by David Salinas that features a man named Ed whom Salinas saw collecting cans outside his studio. The incredible work is done without computer manipulation, instead using the messy and grueling process of applying chemicals with a paint roller to bring out the picture. "I HATE rules," said Salinas by e-mail. "In my darkroom, anything goes." Other artists include Ronny Quevedo, Blanka Amezkua, Darwin Arevalo, Caroline Chandler and Oscar Rene Cornejo.
8 p.m. El Rincón Social, 3210 Preston. For information, call 281-639-0252 or visit the El Rincón Social website. Free.
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It may take two to tango, but to tango like this globally acclaimed dance company takes 26 -- the number of performers in Luis Bravo's Forever Tango, onstage at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday. Now touring after several runs on Broadway, Forever Tango offers dancers swirling and twirling to the accompaniment of a small orchestra under the direction of Victor Lavellen, interpreting themes of love, lust and life. Mostly lust. Theatermania.com called Forever Tango "one of those rare revues with nary a dull moment." That assessment is likely due to the whiplash-inducing moves and acrobatic techniques now familiar to a vast audience thanks to Dancing with the Stars. "Everybody is recognizing something on the show that has to do with their own story," director and founder Bravo told The Huffington Post. Bravo modeled the show after his own story as an Argentine immigrant to the United States. "That's why the show is so successful. Because it's about humanity, and that relationship between man and woman in the dance. And that, I think, is the most powerful relationship on earth."
7:30 p.m. Friday. 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 281-373-3386 or visit the Miller Outdoor Theatre website. Free.
Houston will see two powerhouse female comics perform on Saturday, including Kathleen Madigan. She just released her newest special, Madigan Again, on Netflix, and it's one more entry in a consistently hilarious output that marks her as the funniest woman, if not person, in the country. Her style is warm and real. Where others rant and advocate and mock, Madigan maintains a slightly tipsy distance from the chaos and madness of the world around her, processing its funnier bits in a breathy, self-deprecating chuckle. Her latest spiels are wonderful juxtapositions. While the young people around her bitterly complain about a small rise in the price of stamps, she remains eternally impressed that she can send a piece of paper to Alaska for less than two bits. She also recounts touring Afghanistan to perform for the troops, and describes the country as like a visit to the Old Testament. "The bad Bible," she calls it. "The one where God is a lunatic and shit's on fire for no reason. Not the fun Bible with the wine-and-cheese parties."
8 p.m. Saturday. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit the Bayou Music Center website. $29.50.
Also in town on Saturday is funny woman Whitney Cummings, the former star of Whitney and the co-creator and writer of the successful comedy sitcom 2 Broke Girls, is making a return to the stand-up comedy scene, including a stop in Houston as part of a tour she's doing around the United States. Her one-night stint at the House of Blues is her first trip to Houston in a while. "I haven't really been to Houston to perform there. I did an improv there ages ago, but I haven't been to the House of Blues, so I'm really looking forward to it," she told us.
It's been a busy couple of years for the former model. Between making appearances on E!'s Chelsea Lately and writing for her hit show 2 Broke Girls, now in its third season, Cummings hasn't really had time for stand-up, and she's looking forward to returning to it. "Stand-up ultimately will always be what is my soul, what is the most important thing to me."
8 p.m. Saturday. 1204 Caroline. For information, visit the House of Blues Houston website. $35.
It's Prince Orlofsky's costume ball and everyone is in disguise and, according to mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, desperately trying to reinvent themselves. The upcoming Houston Grand Opera production of the comic operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat), which includes a Sunday performance, has been reset to the 1930s, which makes it more chic and more relevant, Graham says. "We're in the 1930s post-stock market crash and everyone is frenzied and desperate to create an alternative reality, desperate to be something they are not." Graham, who has been covered in honors in recent years, is the 2013-14 Lynn Wyatt Great Artist here to sing the trouser role of Prince Orlofsky, a role she hasn't performed since college (Texas Tech and the Manhattan School of Music) but was ready to do again.
"Orlofsky: He's a prince, he's one of those spoiled, bored, entitled kind of guys," says Graham, who adds that she's always enjoyed the athleticism of being able to portray a man onstage. "You can be saucy and sloppy. You're leaping onto and off the furniture and we have to jump out of windows," she says. "And it's fun to swan around in a white tuxedo." The music, by "The Waltz King," Johann Strauss II, "will be familiar whether you know it or not," she promises (it's been used in cartoons, commercials and snippets of movies).
Baritone Liam Bonner sings the Eisenstein role, Wendy Bryn Harmer is Rosalinde and Laura Claycomb is Adele. This is the first time in three decades that HGO is putting on Die Fledermaus; this production is an original from Opera Australia, sung in English with projected text.
7:30 p.m. October 25, November 2 and 8, 2 p.m. October 27 and November 10. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-228-6737 or visit the Houston Grand Opera website. $18 to $370.25.
Crystal Brannen, Margaret Downing, Nancy Ford and Jef with One F contributed to this post.
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