Increasing the Flock

If you can't be bothered to track down the odd little church-turned-art-house-theater on Aurora Street, here's your chance to see what all the fuss is about. The Best of Aurora Picture Show 2002 will be screening at Mixture Contemporary Art gallery, on easy-to-find Westheimer.

Armed with a sizable grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the theater's founder, Andrea Grover, is able for the first time to afford such frills as full-color catalogues and a national road tour meant to get the word out about what many Houstonians consider one of our best-kept secrets. Among the stops will be San Antonio, Los Angeles, Shreveport and…Houston? Why tour to a different venue in her own hometown?

"Just to reach a different audience," Grover says. Besides, the high-traffic location of the gallery might lure in a few passersby who wouldn't normally go to one of her screenings. It also works nicely for Mixture, which plans to start its own outdoor screenings soon.

As the name of the show implies, these shorts are among Grover's favorites. Her selections are accessible, meant to give the audience a good time. One piece, "Snack and Drink," is animated by Bob Sabiston, who helped deaden viewers' brains in Richard Linklater's Waking Life. "The Morphology of Desire" is also an animation of sorts, morphing between various disturbingly similar romance novel covers.

Another film is a quasi-documentary that follows artist Ximena Cuevas as she infiltrates a Jerry Springer-like Mexican talk show. And another does nothing more than demonstrate filmmaker Eric Sak's ingenious method for combating junk faxes.

It couldn't be easy to compile a show that, as Grover puts it, "sums up everything we do." But if you've yet to venture to Grover's congregation in the Heights, this show will give you some idea of what you've been missing.

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Dylan Otto Krider