Rakugo

Though it may seem otherwise, there is more to comedy than stoned man-boys and people being embarrassed on reality shows. Today, the Consulate-General of Japan at Houston and the Japan-America Society of Houston will present the traditional Rakugo performer Kaishi Katsura in a rare stateside visit to prove that the grand tradition of oral storytelling is alive and well. Dressed in a kimono and helped along by only a fan and a towel, Katsura uses words, vocal shifts and gestures to tell traditional, humorous tales - all without leaving his seat. There are around 300 Rakugo stories in existence, experts say, many of them kneaded into near perfection through hundreds of years of evolution. While the art is distinctly Japanese, Katsura will accommodate his guests by performing in English. The performance drew a crowd in Austin last year, but Houston missed out thanks to Hurricane Ike. Our second chance for Rakugo starts at 6:30 p.m. JASH headquarters, 4801 Woodway. For information, call 713-963-0121 or visit www.jashouston.org. $15.
Mon., Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m., 2009
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Julia Ramey