Free for All: Joyful Noise, Don Ed Hardy, the World Naked Bike Ride, and "Interstitial Spaces"

Written and directed by Todd Graff, Joyful Noise has a familiar formula: a church choir has to pull it together as they prepare for a big singing contest. We've seen it before with Whoopi Goldberg and a young Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyoncé in The Fighting Temptations.

But just because we've seen it before doesn't mean Joyful Noise with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah, isn't worth a look when it plays this Friday at Miller Outdoor Theatre. With apologies to Parton and Latifah, the music is the real star here.

In an effort to update the choir's repertoire, the group adapts pop songs such as Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want to Take You Higher," and Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" into powerful gospel anthems. Most of the action revolves around the struggle between Parton and Latifah's characters for control of the choir, with a love story between their respective nephew and niece (Keke Palmer and Keke Palmer) thrown in for good measure. Kris Kristofferson, Courtney B. Vance, Jesse L. Martin, and Kirk Franklin are among the supporting cast.

See - and hear -- Joyful Noise on Friday at 8 p.m. at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, visit Miller's website or call 281-373-3386.

On Saturday, catch the opening of "Don Ed Hardy: 2,000+12" at DiverseWorks. Tattoo artist and painter Don Ed Hardy celebrated the dawn of the new millennium by creating a unique piece of art, the painted scroll 2,000 Dragons. The piece measures more than half a football field in length and features 2,000 painted dragons. Most of the creatures are done in the traditional ornate Asian style, but the scroll also features elements of nature such as a rolling sea, clouds and a setting sun, along with household objects such as a chair and a teapot. Some of these are painted in a more abstract style. The exhibit includes 12 new dragon paintings, each measuring three by four feet, which celebrate each month of 2012, the first year of the dragon since the turn of the century.

The opening reception for "Don Ed Hard: 2,000 + 12" is 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Regular viewing hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. The exhibit runs through July 8. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. For information, visit the DiverseWorks website or call 713‑223-8346.

Concerned about pollution caused by fossil fuels? Do something about it at the World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday night. The global event was founded in 2004; that's the same year that Klaus -Töpfer, then executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, published a study saying that a million species of plants and animals might disappear in the next 50 years due to the effects of climate change brought about by greenhouse gases. Since then, the World Naked Bike Ride and its environmental message have spread internationally. This is Houston's second year to participate. Interested parties are encouraged to go "as bare as you dare." Feel free to decorate yourself and your bike.

Join the World Naked Bike Ride at 7 p.m at Super Happy Fun Land, 3801 Polk. For information, visit

On Sunday, we suggest you drop by "Interstitial Spaces: Julia Barello and Beverly Penn" at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafthave several things in common. Both nationally known artists are use unusual materials; Barello uses X-ray and MRI films while Penn works with bronze castings. Both create large, elaborate wall installations from small,seemingly fragile forms. And both investigate life cycles and nature. And both explore the empty spaces, or interstices, in their structures. Each woman has several solo pieces in the show. Together they created Submerged. a wonderful wall installation that runs the length of the gallery. Made up of free-form shapes cut from X-ray and MRI films and long, delicate seaweed-like plants made from bronze and steel.

See "Interstitial Spaces: Julia Barello and Beverly Penn" 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through September 1. Houston Contemporary Craft Center, 4848 Main. For information, visit the HCCC website or call 713-529-4848.

Jef With One F contributed to this post.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez