Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: i scream, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, R J Palacio and More

Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: i scream, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, R J Palacio and More
Photo by Simon Gentry

Hope Stone Dance's Lemonade Stand: i scream, running Friday and Saturday, was originally scheduled to be at the Photo Booth, the site of previous Drive By Dance performances. Those plans changed unexpectedly and the group scrambled to mount the show in another space. "I was going to do a fishbowl dance originally," says choreographer Jane Weiner. "Now it's in a 15,000-square-foot space."

Weiner admits the size and shape of the new venue influenced the production, but says it didn't change its basic goal: to break through the fourth wall in dance performance. "With my Lemonade Stands, I continue to break down the proscenium." Weiner says she tries to balance doing something new and different with doing something that's accessible to audiences. "I want to do something that brings people back into a theater to watch dance and to enjoy dance. (Other artists) are purposely provocative. I don't think I'm provocative. I feel like I'm early Apple -- I want to be user-friendly so that people aren't scared to come to a performance. I want to do work that people don't come out of the theater saying, 'What was that about?' I want them to know that it can be about anything."

The soundtrack for i scream is a happy amalgamation of odd, errant sounds and seemingly unrelated music. "We've got music being played on [traditional] Swedish instruments; we've got music from college that's come back to haunt me. I'm using a new composition by...Mike Wall. We've got something from Kurt Weill, who sounds like a German mad scientist that decided to sing in his lab one day. Pearl Bailey is in there and so is the Oakland Marching Band."

See Lemonade Stand: i scream at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Art Square Studios, 2327 Commerce. For information, call 713-526-1907 or visit the Hope Stone website. Pay-what-you-like.

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Our first pick for Saturday is Maz Jobrani, a stand-up comedian of Middle Eastern descent, who often discusses during his show the angst that goes along with his heritage, but not in that whiny, Reza Aslan, FOX News-y kind of way. "Being Iranian American presents its own set of problems," Jobrani explained during a TED talk. "I was born in Iran, but now I'm an American citizen, which means I have an American passport, which means I can travel," he continues. "If you only have an Iranian passport, you're kind of limited in the countries you can go to with open arms -- like Syria, North Korea, Venezuela. I remember getting my American passport and thinking, 'Woo-hoo! I'm going to travel!' Then I opened it up and it said, 'Born in Iran,' and I'm like, 'C'mon, man! I'm trying to go places!'" Regardless of what his passport says, Jobrani, the founder of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, has indeed gone places: Previous Axis of Evil tours took him and other comedians of Middle Eastern heritage beyond the United States to sold-out shows in Dubai, Beirut, Cairo, Kuwait and Amman.

Join Maz Jobrani at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Improv Houston, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713-333-8800 or visit the club's website. $25 to $40.

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