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The 5 Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Revolve Dance Company and More

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Revolve Dance Company is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a program of new works entitled X over a two-day run on Friday and Saturday. Choreographers/dancers Amy Cain, Lindsey McGill and Dawn Dippel created the new works, which include Cain's jazz pieces The Search (about the struggle between living in the now and planning for the future) and Pride (inspired by the male-­­female relationships found inside a lion pride), Dippel's contemporary Butterfly Effect and McGill's Something Wonderful is Going to Happen. Also on the program are excerpts from Revolve on Camera, (seen above) a dance film by Gothic South Productions that will be screened later in the week at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as part of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival.

Catch X at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Barn, 2201 Preston. For information, call 281‐363‐2475 or visit ­revolvedanceco.com. $20.

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Those people too young to remember comedian Don Rickles might think that Lewis Black originated the "angry guy" style he's famous for. Ah, no. Don Rickles, who was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show and a Las Vegas regular during the '60s and '70s, was spouting insults long before Black came on the scene.

Black may not have been the first angry comic, but he is among the best of them working today. Black, in town on Friday for a one-night stand at the Bayou Music Center, has built a career on saying things other people are embarrassed to even think about.

Catch his act at 8 p.m. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-230-1600 or visit livenation.com. $39.50 to $59.50.

Our first recommendation for Saturday is Playwright Sarah Ruhl's Late: A Cowboy Song isn't easy to describe. Like many of Ruhl's plots, Late doesn't go in a straight line from point A to point B. There's a woman, Mary, who has been in a stifling marriage to Crick for a long time. Mary meets Red, a female cowboy, and as their friendship develops something is awakened in Mary. Crick and Mary have an intersexual baby and are faced with assigning the child a gender.

"This play is hard to describe in an action-­oriented synopsis," agrees the show's director, Bree Bridger. "The play is about Mary's personal journey...and learning to ride a horse, growing close to Red and the struggles of understanding her intersexed [and gender-­assigned] child's ­future are all integral to that journey."

Bridger points out that Late addresses topics that are more controversial than those in Ruhl's other works and that it does so in very stark terms. "Ruhl approaches theater as a form of honesty, but...honesty does not necessarily mean realism. There's wordplay, there's mood whiplash, there's romance, there's horseback riding and cowboys singing under the big night sky."

Bridger goes on to say the play, which is one of Ruhl's less­-produced works, is a quirky "drama told with warmth. The play deals with some dark... subjects...from forced gender-­assignment surgery to domestic abuse, with a lot of sincerity. If the audience laughs -- and they just might -- it's at the discomfort Mary has with some of her situations."

Please note this production will not be held at Studio 101, Mildred's Umbrella's usual stage. See Late at 8 p.m. November 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22. 14 Pews, 800 Aurora. For information, call 832‐463‐0409 or visit ­ mildredsumbrella.com. Pay-­as­-you-­can.

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Mezzo­-soprano Claudia Chapa is enjoying her role as the Witch in Hansel und Gretal, currently being produced by Opera in the Heights, including a Sunday show. The Witch is a sinister, evil character (she eats children, after all), but the role allows Chapa to explore the darker side of her personality and to experiment vocally with sounds.

"[It's] been a challenge but ultimately extremely rewarding," she tells us. "I love singing this role." Engelbert Humperdinck's opera is based on the fairy tale of the same name. Brother and sister Hansel and Gretel wander in the forest, eventually finding a gingerbread house that's actually a trap set by the witch. "She's a predator that enjoys playing with her prey," Chapa says of her character, "but once she figures out that Hansel and Gretel are smarter than most of her victims, she resorts to using her magic." Chapa says that while the opera is accessible, it isn't without its dark moments. "[You] see Hansel and Gretel go through probably the scariest thing that any kids would ever encounter, and survive. You see the father and mother gofrom seeing their children as a major burden to being grateful they are still alive. [Ultimately], is growth and gratefulness."

Mezzo­-sopranos Megan Berti and Hilary Ginther share the pants role of Hansel; sopranos Allison Pohl and Katie Dixon share the role of Gretel. Along with Chapa, mezzo-­­soprano Jenni Bank performs as the Witch. Houston favorite Amanda Kingston, Brian Shircliffe and Cassandra Black round out the cast.

See Hansel and Gretel outsmart the Witch at 7:30 p.m. November 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22, 2.p.m. November 16 and 23. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, call 713‐861‐5303 or visit ­operaintheheights.org. $35 to $67.

T-­shirts and shorts are usually appropriate for Gulf Coast weather during the winter holiday season. Usually, but not this year. You're going to have to break out the parkas and mittens when you visit Moody Gardens' newest attraction, ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants. We suggest an opening weekend visit - Saturday features a full day of events including a special appearance by Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and his band, the Hi-Seas. More entertainment is set for Sunday.

A team of artisans from China have spent several weeks carving 50 figures and structures from 900 tons of ice to create a holiday spectacular for the entire family. (Some of the sculptures are more than 30 feet tall.) Set inside a specially cooled tent, Ice Land boasts a temperature of nine degrees. (Nope, we're not missing a zero on that number -- nine degrees!)

The annual holiday attraction, Festival of Lights is ready for visitors with more than a hundred decorated holiday scenes and strolling entertainers. There are two extra-­cool (literally!) attractions in the Festival of Lights -- a 100-­foot-­long Arctic ice slide and an outdoor ice rink.

Hours vary for ICE LAND, the Festival of Lights, Arctic Ice Slide and other attractions daily. Through January 31. Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, call 800‐582‐4673 or visit ­moodygardens.org. Prices vary.

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