Top Five Things to Do This Weekend in Houston: MountainFilm on Tour, God of Carnage, La Bayadère and More
You'll have two chances to catch the MountainFilm on Tour film festival, with screenings on Friday and Saturday. Since 2000, MountainFilm on Tour has been going on tour around the country to bring its unique adventure and avant-garde showcases to a wider audience. This year the festival gives Houstonians the chance to see Tiffany Shlain's Yelp (With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" ). Clocking in at just over five minutes, the Peter Coyote-narrated short is a raging, ranting essay on the apathy that comes from being part of a society always plugged into an ever-widening net of online connectivity. The result plays like a good Bill Hicks end piece, but with the urgency and scope of a Great Dictator . More epic in scale is Jeff Orlowski's documentary Chasing Ice . The film follows James Balog as he chronicles the melting of -glaciers all over the world with time-lapse -photography. The footage, which inevitably shows the giant masses of ice shrinking remarkably quickly, is alarming.
See MountainFilm on Tour 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore. For information, visit the Asia Society Texas Center website or call 713‑496‑9901. $35 to $60.
Anyone who sits down to watch God of Carnage has to realize that what follows won't exactly be realistic, says Kim Tobin, actress and co--artistic director of Stark Naked Theatre (the group was one of our MasterMind Awards winners earlier this year). Playwright Yasmina Reza's tale of two couples meeting to discuss their children's playground fighting is our pick for Friday. The story starts off ordinarily enough but soon leaves the planet as the four parents involved behave increasingly, incredibly badly. "It should feel uncomfortable and fun," Tobin promises, since these actors say all the outrageous kinds of things people think about saying but usually (thank God) don't. And, in the end, she says, "It's cathartic." Because audiences can walk out afterward knowing that saying all those mean, nasty things a) really doesn't get you anywhere and b) is going to make things a whole lot worse. Even if you've seen the movie and last year's production at the Alley Theatre (with visiting actors), Tobin promises the intensity will be ratcheted up even more in the small space afforded by the stage at Spring Street Studios. So be ready to duck as tulips and tempers fly and words and vomit spew forth. Local actors Tobin, Drake Simpson, Kay Allmand and John Gremillion star in the play, which is directed by Justin Doran.
God of Carnage runs 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and March 4, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through March 9. 1824 Spring Street. For information, visit the Stark Naked Theatre website or call 832-866-6514. "Pay What You Can" to $20.
Nozomi Iijima in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère
Photo by Amitava Sarkar
The most dramatic scene in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère, our recommendation for Saturday, is Kingdom of the Shades, in which the women of the Houston Ballet's corps de ballet, each dressed in a white tutu, enter one by one performing a simple walking-into-arabesque movement. The dancers form an undulating line until the stage is filled with identical figures executing extremely precise movements. "The image of all of the women coming on is very hypnotic, very mesmerizing," says principal dancer Connor Walsh via press materials. "It's so simple and so pure, but I've always found it so powerful."
La Bayadère is the story of Solor, a warrior who falls in love with Nikiya, a temple dancer. To complicate matters, Gamzatti, the ruler's daughter, is set to marry Solor, and the high priest is in love with Nikiya. Filled with jealousy and spite, Gamzatti plots to kill Nikiya, but her plan fails to keep the young lovers apart forever. Set in ancient India, La Bayadère has been described as "Bollywood meets classical ballet," and Welch's choreography is filled with exotic, fiery movements.
See Stanton Welch's ballet of love and loss at 7:30 p.m. February 23. Performances continue through March 3. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For a full schedule, visit the Houston Ballet's website or call 713-227-2787. $19 to $180.
Hidden Exposure by Morris Malakoff
As its name indicates, Saturday's one-night only show "5iveX: An Erotic Exhibition" is for mature audiences only. Houston artists Taft McWhorter and Morris Malakoff got the idea to have an erotic art show after collaborating recently on a project featuring a nude model. For "5iveX," McWhorter, Malakoff, Tra Slaughter, Micah Simmons and Kelley Devine provide different perspectives on the nude form displaying some 30 paintings, photographs and sculptures.
Devine uses her own body as the subject matter in her collage-like pieces, which are composed of family memorabilia, paint and nude photos of the artist by John Runnels. Some of these pieces are displayed like peep shows, in self-lit boxes, so they can be viewed privately. "Since the images involved in these pieces are a bit more risqué, I felt that it would be interesting to control how the image was viewed," Devine tells us. "I wanted something intimate and concise."
The price of a ticket gets you credits toward an art purchase as well as food by Intricate Edibles, an open bar, music by the Matt Willhelm Quartet, live modeling and more. "We're pulling out the stops for this exhibit," says McWhorter. "We want to offer our guests an -experience as opposed to just the usual art exhibit."
"5iveX: An Erotic Exhibition" runs 8 to 11 p.m. Winter Street Gallery, 2101 Winter Street. For information, visit the Taft McWhorter website. $30 to $50.
Sunday is your first chance to see the "Picasso: Black & White" exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Throughout his career, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso experimented with wildly divergent styles, techniques, subject matter and mediums. But over the decades, he would continually return to creating works in the simplest -- and often striking -- hues of black and white. "Picasso in Black and White" features some 100 of his paintings, sculptures and drawings on paper from the years 1904 through 1970.
The show comes to Houston after its premiere at the Guggenheim in New York, largely through the efforts and friendship of MFAH Director Gary Tinterow and the exhibit's curator, Carmen Giménez. "I've known Carmen since 1984, and we've discussed this project many times over the last decade," Tinterow -- who was appointed MFAH director last year -- says. "I immediately asked if we could be the second and only other venue for the exhibit, and now we have it. It is a path-breaking and breathtaking show." For Giménez, the limited palette of black and white (and gray) brings the talent of Picasso bursting forth. "I think within the visual impact of black and white, and gray, you see the essence of Picasso. You see the line," she offers. "Because it doesn't make any difference between drawing, painting and sculpture. His obsession is inventing, and he invents the line." And while she believes that Picasso is a great colorist, some of his greatest works lean toward the monochromatic, even during the so-called "Blue" and "Rose" periods. "Color art is not -essential," she adds. "It is not the essence of his interest."
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through May 27. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, visit the museum website or call 73-639-7300. $17 to $20.
Margaret Downing, Meredith Deliso, Jeff with One F and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.
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