Short Stuff

The Aurora Picture Show's Extremely Shorts 6 isn't a snooty film festival. "It's open to anyone with a camera," says Andrea Grover, Aurora's executive director. "It's definitely our most do-it-yourself program. We've got people who've never picked up a camera before, students, little kids, seasoned filmmakers." One of the most low-budget shorts in the history of the festival was shot by a kid who worked at a movie theater near Times Square. "He walked into a Sony store on his lunch hour," says Grover, "with a mini DVD tape and shot the whole video with the camera on display in the store… His only investment was his time and the cost of the videotape." Another well-remembered entry was submitted by a woman from Columbus, Ohio, who stood in front of a New York gallery reading Valerie Solanas's Scum Manifesto and drinking. She got so drunk she eventually threw up on the gallery window.This year's festival will be juried by Matt McCormick, a Portland-based filmmaker who's been making experimental shorts for a decade. "I'm gonna go into it with a real open mind and just see which things that I'm the most affected by," says McCormick. "I think something that's only three minutes long -- that can be about anything. So I'm expecting a wide range of styles and ideas." Shorts three minutes and under come in from around the world; typically, about 20 are chosen. Send entries by May 15 to Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora Street, Houston, Texas 77009. For information or an entry form, call 713-868-2101 or visit -- Cathy Matusow

Party on the Plaza


Easter takes over the whole city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. In 1997, Houston independent filmmakers Patricia Lacy Collins and Robert S. Cozens went south of the border to capture the ritual. The result is an award-winning documentary called Darkness into Light: Semana Santa, San Miguel. The two-week festival is a series of pageants, parties and prayer; throughout the celebration, elaborate floats and statues of saints are paraded through the town plaza. The event's more dramatic moments include crucifixion re-enactments and a cathartic ceremony called "Firing of the Judases," in which citizens explode papier-mâché statues of their enemies. 4 p.m. Sunday, April 20, on Channel 8, Houston PBS. -- Troy Schulze

Trash Is Money


Don't set that green bin of recyclables out at the curbside just yet -- you could make a lovely sculpture with it. No, this isn't some bad segment on Home and Garden Television; it's the Houston Earth Day Trash to Treasure art contest. To sway the mercenaries, there are cash prizes in each age division ($150 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third). All elements must be recyclable, and the final product can't weigh more than 25 pounds -- so forget about using that Dodge Dart rusting in the backyard. Works must be dropped off at the Rice University environmental services building (entrance no. 15 at Rice Boulevard) by Friday, April 18. The Houston Earth Day festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 19. West Stadium Lot, Rice University (entrance no. 8 at Stockton). For information, call 713-524-4232 or visit -- Kelly Klaasmeyer

Visual Soundtrack
Herb Alpert jams at Mirabeau

Herb Alpert may be best known for his contributions to music, but he's been painting since 1969, shortly after the peak of his musical career. A&M, the record label Alpert started out of his own garage, was thriving, but the "Ameriachi" style Alpert conceived with the Tijuana Brass band had already grown kitsch. Over the years, he continued to break the Top 40, but he was also emerging as an abstract painter. Alpert's artwork has a jazz-related, improvised feel and a colorful explosiveness that seems rooted in pop music. His use of Spanish titles, such as Fandango and Tango Nuevo, coupled with flowing abstract shapes and bold brushwork, show his fascination with Latin dance. Titled "Music for Your Eyes," the exhibit should enthrall Alpert fans, who'll have to stifle the urge to hum "Spanish Flea" while browsing. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, through July 31. Mirabeau, 3202 Argonne. For information, call 713-528-8880. Free -- Troy Schulze

Model Behavior


Model wannabes can find out if they're magazine material at Bibi Magazine's Texas Model Search and Workshop. Aspirants will learn about makeup application, the model walk and the business side of modeling; then they'll compete in a fashion show at Live, striding to the grooves of DJ ALxXx and DJ NiTro. The show's winners will appear in Bibi Magazine, the bridal and fashion magazine for South Asian-Americans. Register by Tuesday, April 22 (there are spots for 20 women and 15 men). Workshop: 9:45 a.m. Sunday, April 26. Fashion show: 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 2. Live, 407 Main. For information or to register, call 713-526-2780 or visit $95. -- Cathy Matusow

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Kelly Klaasmeyer
Contact: Kelly Klaasmeyer
Cathy Matusow
Contact: Cathy Matusow
Troy Schulze
Contact: Troy Schulze