Class Is Out

Whoever said cooning was dead has obviously not seen a Tyler Perry production. His Madea plays take comedy to new levels of ignorance. They are politically incorrect, funny and popular on the bootleg video circuit. And they've made their creator, Tyler Perry, extremely rich. The New Orleans native was homeless just six years ago; then he turned some personal letters into his first hit musical, I Know I've Been Changed. Since then, Perry's hit the big time with his Madea series. In it, he plays gun-wielding matriarch Mabel "Madea" Simmons, as well as some other characters. The quick changes are executed smoothly and aren't hard to follow, although the Southern patois sometimes is. On the Tyler Perry Web site, Madea herself discusses the latest installment in the series, Madea's Family Reunion, and invites the audience to get tickets early because "er'rabody is comin'...and don't forget the college greens. I will bring the Jello and the bullets." See what pans out when she shows up to her 50th high school reunion toting guns and aspic. Madea's Class Reunion: 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 14, through Friday, October 17; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, October 18; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 19. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit $26.50. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc

MON 10/13
Punky Folkster
Ani DiFranco is part mainstream, part up-yours

Ani DiFranco's music is showing up on Internet chill music mixes. Is that a good thing? Her inclusion in these compilations, which make for soothing Sunday-morning background music, is a sign of the acceptance the artist's once-underground approach to folk music has found. DiFranco's latest studio album, Evolve, has not met with the same critical acclaim as 1995's breakthrough, Not a Pretty Girl, or even 2002's live album, So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter. But the fact is, she still has plenty of venom on the tip of her tongue. In the album's rambling final rant, "Serpentine," DiFranco unleashes her politically charged fury in full force, informing us that "Uncle Sam is rigging cockfights in the Promised Land." Ani DiFranco performs at 8 p.m. Monday, October 13. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-225-8551. $26.50 to $29.50. -- Greg Barr

SAT 10/11
Cored Out
With its chunky guitar riffs and political, pop-philosophy lyrics, Die Young is probably best described as hardcore, no matter how you think of the word. The band tells us that "Only the blind see in black and white," and "Our relentless pursuit of truth absolute has kept us on our knees." But in true punk fashion, the meaning of these words is secondary to the roar of the instruments. This weekend, Die Young will play at the Fallcore Fest with a slew of other searing screamers, including Will to Live and Pride Kills. 8 p.m. Saturday, October 11. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak Drive. For more information, call 713-862-3838 or visit $8. -- Keith Plocek


Paging Dr. Watson
More than a century ago, William Gillette was given free rein to revamp the script of the play Sherlock Holmes. The character's creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, told him, "You may marry him, murder him or do anything you like to him." Now see where the Alley Theatre has taken the old chap. Friday, October 10, through Sunday, November 2. For information and showtimes, call 713-228-8421 or visit $35 to $50. -- Lisa Simon

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