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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Dark Matter: Evidence of Things Unseen and More

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On Friday, NobleMotion Dance, one of our favorite performing arts companies, premieres its latest evening-length program, Dark Matter: Evidence of Things Unseen. Inspired by Einstein's theory of relativity, Darwin's theory of natural selection and the Holy Bible, Dark Matter explores such lofty ideas as our place in the universe, the human condition, and the intersection of science and faith. Promotional materials say, "The theater [will be] transformed into a planetarium...and the dancers [will] test the limits of gravity." The athletic, accomplished dancers of NobleMotion have often tested the limits of gravity, and we're excited to see what promises to be a dramatic and bold performance in Dark Matter.

See Dark Matter: Evidence of Things Unseen at 8 p.m. August 29 and 30, September 4 to 6. The Barn, 2201 Preston. For information, call 832‑627‑9963 or visit noblemotiondance.com. $20 to $25.

Houston has several new pop-culture conventions coming to town. We just had The Houston Con, a new entry from people previously involved with Space City Con. Now it's Amazing Houston Comic Con, and organizers are bringing in some big guns to make an impression. DC Comic co-publisher and influential X-men/Batman artist Jim Lee is just one of several illustrious and well-respected comics creators who'll be here over the weekend including Saturday.

There's also Deadpool creator Rob Lie-feld; Bob Layton, the man who made Iron Man interesting to a modern audience in the '70s and '80s; and Len Wein, who, among other works, wrote Giant Size X‑Men #1 and co-created the Batman characters Clayface and Lucius Fox. Oh, and he also co-created a low-key character for Marvel Comics named Wolverine. It's a shame Marvel hasn't gotten some play out of that.

Heads-up for parents: Kids ten years old and under are free with an adult paid admission, making this an easy choice for a day of family fun. At the other end of the price scale, a VIP pass gets you early admission, priority seating, entrance to a special Jim Lee signing session, variant comics and other goodies.

Noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, visit amazinghoustoncomiccon.com. $25 to $150.

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Location is everything. It's true in real estate, and it's true in the artwork being shown in "Stories About Place: Gustavo Bonevardi, Dias & Riedweg, Cesar González, Liliana Porter, Melanie Smith," now on exhibit at Sicardi Gallery and another one of our choices for Saturday. Gustavo Bonevardi, fascinated by archeological sites and ruins, incises letters into soft, black rock, referencing the Rosetta Stone and suggesting an unknowable history. The art duo Dias & Riedweg devised Malas Para Marcel, placing small valises throughout Rio de Janeiro and videotaping each as it was picked up and carried on its journey. Cesar González's untitled constellations are ink-on-paper drawings of small figures engaged in various relationships, interacting with landscapes filled with dreamlike objects and creatures. Liliana Porter uses figurines to create theatrical vignettes in Lavandera and Traveler With Lost Things, visual comments on the human condition. Melanie Smith's collages use images of local animal and plant life in the Amazon jungle, overlaid on archival documents such as ledgers, diagrams and machine schematics from the 1940s. See "Stories About Place"

Regular viewing hours for "Right Place, Right Time" are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Through October 25. 1506 West Alabama. For information, call 713‑529‑1313 or visit sicardi.com. Free.

It was a child's christening gown that inspired the exhibit "Sandria Hu: Archeological Dress." Hu, a professor of art at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, was a Fulbright Scholar in the mid-1980s. As part of her research, Hu participated in archaeological excavations at an -ancient Roman military camp in what is present-day Slovakia. The excavation team found the tomb of a little girl, her skeleton still intact. During her visit, Hu became friendly with several families in the area. As she prepared to leave, the family of a woman living in the United States gave Hu a hand-embroidered christening gown. It was a family heirloom they hoped Hu could get to their daughter (communication with the West was heavily monitored by the communist regime then in charge of the area). Hu eventually found the woman. The juxtaposition of the Roman skeleton and the present-day woman, both daughters lost and rediscovered, inspired Hu to create the work seen in "Archaeological Dress," another of our choices for Saturday. The exhibit features 20 collagraph prints, each showing a life-size impression of a child's christening gown.

See "Sandria Hu: Archeological Dress" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Through December 13. Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts, 6815 Cypresswood. For information, call 281-376-6322 or visit pearlmfa.org. Free.

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The images that make up "Shadows on the Wall: Cameraless Photography from 1851 to Today" range from Dain Tasker's ethereal 1931 Lily (a delicate, ghostly image of a flower) to Robert Heinecken's chaotic 1989 Recto/Verso #7 (two superimposed faces that seem to create an optical illusion). As are all the other works seen in the exhibit, both are from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's permanent collection. Each of the 50 images in the exhibit was made using light and chemistry but no camera. The exhibit covers some 160 years of photography, but we're sometimes hard-pressed to immediately identify which image was made when without looking at the ID card -- some of the older -photos, such as Lily, are fresh and elegant, reflecting what we would call contemporary sophistication in terms of both aesthetics and technology. "Shadows on the Wall" is our choice for Sunday.

"Shadows on the Wall" is on view 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through November 30. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713‑639‑7500 or visit mfah.org. Free with paid general admission ($15).

Jim J. Tommaney and Phaedra Cook contributed to this post.

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