Free for All: The Emotional Life of a Spy, SK8 and Rock, and Memorial Day

Alfred Hitchcock's classic film The 39 Steps colors Houston artist Sasha Dela's installation The Emotional Life of a Spy, which opens on Friday. A collection of found objects and video, the work reflects the film noir style of Hitchcock's suspenseful whodunit about a man trying to foil a plot to steal British military secrets just before WWII. The installation was inspired by Dela's grandmother, who, according to the artist, not only resembled one of the film's characters but also had what Dela perceived to be an adventurous inner life. Dela says that she's more like Hannay, Hitchcock's innocent man on the run (despite the fact that Dela is neither innocent nor on the run, she points out). The installation includes an old phone, tapered candles, a silver platter and manipulated clips from the film.

There's an opening reception with the artist on Friday, 6 to 9 p.m. at Art League Houston, 1953 Montrose. Regular viewing hours for the installation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The installation closes July 6. For information, visit the Art League Houston Web site or call 713-523-9530.

On Saturday, we suggest stopping by experimental artist Leslie Mutchler's exhibit "TrendFACTORY" at Lawndale Art Center. Mutchler is asking the audience to participate in her installation/exhibit/pseudo-workspace, where trends are literally being manufactured. Mutchler printed several pieces of paper with dark and light triangles. She then created a video of instructions on how to fold, cut and tape the paper into a three-dimensional form which is running as part of the exhibit. Trick is, the instructions are purposely vague. "Cut on any three lines," for example. That means that, even with the same materials and same instructions, everyone ends up with something different based on the choices they made along the way.

Participants photograph their creations and upload the images to Mutchler's Tumblr account, which acts as a sort of visual depository for all of the pieces. So far, participants have been creating very differently shaped and sized forms, but some trends are still apparent (a small triangle seems to have been crafted over and over). Oh, and don't worry: While some people put their creations on one of the shelves in the exhibit, most break them down back into a flat sheet of paper so there's still plenty of paper left for you to give it a go.

Be part of "TrendFACTORY" 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The exhibit continues through June 16. 4912 Main. For information, visit the Lawndale Art Center Web site or call 713-528-5858.

Feel like skating on Saturday night? Or maybe listening to a little rock and roll? Do both at SK8 and Rock, a free concert series at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, in the shadows of downtown. The concert features MuhammadAli, Project Grimm and Peloton. The skating features you and your friends. And some local hot-shot skaters who like to show off for the audience. The series is sponsored by Scion.

Get in on the action 7 to 9 p.m. at Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark, 103 Sabine St. Please note, if you want to skate, you must have a helmet. (Yeah, we know the guy in the picture isn't wearing a helmet, but he's a picture -- you're a person.) For more information, visit the skatepark's Web site or call 713-942-8500.

Celebrate Memorial Day a little early at Saturday and Sunday's Memorial Day in The Woodlands. Get there early to enjoy the festival, then stay to hear some live music. The countrified Sheila Marshall Band and cover band Rapture perform on Saturday. On Sunday, party band 11th Hour and local favorite Park Avenue take the stage. After the music each night there'll be -- can you guess? -- a huge fireworks display. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcomed.

Memorial Day in The Woodlands runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Waterway Square, 1505 Lake Robbins Drive. For information, visit the Waterway Square Web site or call 281-363-2447.

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