Marvelously miserable: Broadway staple Les 
    Misrables is one reason to love the 
    French. See Wednesday.
Marvelously miserable: Broadway staple Les Misrables is one reason to love the French. See Wednesday.
Carlos Somonte

This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, February 17

Whether Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous dream has been fully realized is debatable, but when a professional dance troupe, founded by an African-American, is able to present a King-inspired dance before thousands, you know you've made progress. Sandra Organ, Houston Ballet's first black ballerina, founded her own company in 1998. Since then, her troupe has celebrated the likes of Maya Angelou, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong through contemporary dance. Their latest offering, I Have a Dream, marks the troupe's seventh annual Black History Month Project. The dancers spent time talking with students about King's inspiring speech and asked them to write down "movement words" that came to mind. Organ then choreographed the piece according to the students' ideas, and set the dance to a recording of the minister's actual words. 7:30 p.m. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit $5 to $25.

Friday, February 18

In her new exhibit, "Reflections," photographer Suzanne Paul captures the Rothko Chapel pool, showcasing the water's rippling reflection of sky and sculpture, and creating a murky underworld. The works are introspective and somber, reflecting the ebb and flow of human existence. The effect is fitting, as Paul, who has been waging a war with breast cancer for five years, seems to be pondering her own mortality. But the results are still triumphant: "This exhibition mirrors her will to live and determination to create with every breath and with every moment that she has left," says Poissant Gallery's Meg Poissant. Also opening today is "Cinematographs," an exhibit featuring George Hixson's black-and-white photographs. See the world in black and white at the opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The show runs through March 5. Poissant Gallery, 5102 Center, 713-868-9337, Free; all proceeds from art sales of works from "Reflections" go to Suzanne Paul.

Now that you've had some heady analysis of existential photography, it's time to shake your thang. If you're young, hot and sapphically inclined, head to Club 1415 for Groove Girlz Gone Wild Mardi Gras Style! The Girlz produce parties geared toward hip Houston women who love women, but everyone's invited to tonight's happening. "We're all-inclusive," says co-producer Rebecca Mahaffey. "We have many guy friends -- straight and gay -- that support us and come to our events." A note to any of you schlubs hell-bent on reprogramming some lipstick lesbians for your Cinemax fantasy: Stay home. "We're not looking to be hassled by boys who think they're going to change any minds," says Mahaffey. Instead, we suggest chilling to DJ Farah Cox as she spins club tracks on the main floor, while DJ Jessica Partin spreads some progressive house in the chill room. Oh, and enjoy the scenery -- Mahaffey promises that there'll be "fabulously beautiful women" there. 8:30 p.m. 1415 California. For information, call 713-520-1622 or visit $8 to $10.

Saturday, February 19

If you're still not done shakin' it after last night's Groove Girlz party, brave the parking in Rice Village and hit the Gatsby Social Club for Ritual, featuring DJ Steve Porter on his Homegrown Tour. Just a few years ago, Porter was pushing CDs in a record store in New England. Now he's known as the youngest member to join the Collective Agency, which is home to turntable stud Sasha, among others. Aside from headlining tonight's Ritual show with Randall Jones, Sean Carnahan and Alex C, Porter is in town to help judge the Houston Press Ultra Music Festival (see page 68). 9 p.m. 2540 University, 713-874-1310, Tickets start at $5.

Sunday, February 20

There was a time when it just wasn't hip to be a fan of local music. That may be changing, as evidenced by the third annual MTM Texas Music Awards. The Jay Johnson Band leads this year's crop of hopefuls -- who were selected by musician and industry peers and online fan voting -- with six nominations. Texas mainstay Shake Russell, who was named Entertainer of the Year at the 2004 MTM Awards, kicks off the show at 2 p.m. at the Big Texas Dancehall and Saloon, 803 East NASA Parkway. For tickets and information, visit $10 to $15.

Monday, February 21

Your incessant humming of showtunes is about to get you kicked out of your cubicle. Relieve your co-workers and get one step closer to Broadway with the Company OnStage, which is seeking adults for roles in Done to Death, a parody of murder mysteries, and the children's production of The Little Mermaid. The shows' directors will choose cold readings from the script, so collecting your rsum and head shot (if you have them) is all you need to do. Show up at 7 p.m. 536 Westbury Square. For information, call 713-726-1219 or visit Free.

Tuesday, February 22

Much like a certain Texan we know, the Seattle SuperSonics refuse to stand for the soft bigotry of low expectations. Many counted them out before the season even began; they've been dealing with "are they for real?" murmurs all season. But after suffering a 30-point loss to the Clippers on opening night, the Sonics have been sitting comfortably at the top of their division and have recently won road games against Miami, Sacramento and San Antonio. This is their first matchup of the season with the Rockets, who've been on a tear of their own lately. Ray Allen and Houston native Rashard Lewis take on Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming -- just a few days after joining them as teammates in the All-Star Game -- at 7:30 p.m. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. For information, call 866-446-8849 or visit Tickets start at $10.

Wednesday, February 23

"Serious" theatergoers may scoff at the juggernaut that is Les Misrables: It's too overdone, too grandiose, doesn't have enough songs by ABBA, etc. They say this, of course, knowing full well that they once dreamed of playing Cosette on Broadway, belted out "On My Own" regularly in the shower and own the original London and Broadway cast recordings. The poignantly tragic tale of personal redemption set against the backdrop of the French Revolution has spawned some 37,000 performances and grossed $1.8 billion worldwide. Succumb to the masses at 8 p.m. Through March 6. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets and information, call 713-629-3700 or visit $20 to $69.


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