The Passion of the Cruise

THU 10/14

In perhaps the most sick and twisted original play that Houston may see this year, the sick and twisted playwright-actor Troy Schulze takes on the intersection of Scientology, Tom Cruise, Celebrity and Truth in Me-sci-ah (Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Tom Cruise). It's the latest theatrical offering from Infernal Bridegroom Productions. "This is the story of L. Ron Hubbard," says Schulze, "and his genius scheme to start a 'religion' which eventually involves Cruise and his crusade to stop psychiatry and detoxify New York rescue workers." And since Cruise is the world's highest-profile faithful follower, he's positioned as its greatest weapon and a kind of messiah (good thing Guido the Killer Pimp didn't off him in Risky Business).

Schulze says Cruise has never made an "important" film -- despite being the biggest movie star in the world -- and has perpetrated, why, a Hubbardian con on the American moviegoing public. So let's have Christianity and Scientology face off mano a mano: If Jesus Christ and Tom Cruise were martyred at the same time, who would look more buff hanging from a cross? "Cruise, definitely," Schulze says. "Did you see the rock-climbing scene in Mission: Impossible 2?" 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from Thursday, October 14, through October 29. The Axiom, 2524 McKinney. For information, call 713-522-8443 or visit $5.99 to $12. -- Bob Ruggiero

Shril Thrill Cult
Noise junkies unite at the Horrible Noise Fest

SAT 10/16

Before he passed into rock history, Lester Bangs proposed a scholarly book called A Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise. The demented rock critic championed "the shriek, the caterwaul, the chainsaw gnarlgnashing, the yowl and the whizz that decapitates," best exemplified at the time by Lou Reed's notorious Metal Machine Music and certain stalwarts of avant-garde jazz. "Noise" has since evolved, with the nudge of modern technology, into a full-fledged international underground movement. Every Saturday in October, Southmore House will present the Horrible Noise Fest, featuring the crème de la crème of regional and national toxic blurt, in what promises to be either a weekly soul-cleansing or the musical equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Sheer torture? Or what Bangs called "mellifluous bursts of unarguable affirmation"? You be the judge. 9 p.m. Saturday, October 16. 3107 Leland. For information, call 713-299-4996 or visit $5. -- Scott Faingold


Yo Quiero Funny

THU 10/14

Yes, the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" Chihuahua craze may have gotten so infuriating that you wanted to smack the guy who created it, but pull your punch for Carlos Alazraqui. The performer who voiced the canine pitchman has played animated characters in SpongeBob and tons of other cartoons on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network. But he's also got a role on Comedy Central's Reno 911, and his stand-up definitely isn't for the kiddos. And, for the record, he has ordered Taco Bell in the Chihuahua voice: "Oh, yeah," he says. "I pulled up and asked for a burrito." Opens Thursday, October 14, and runs through Saturday, October 16. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray. For tickets and showtimes, call 713-524-2333 or visit $18.50 to $21.50. -- Steven Devadanam

East Meets Fest

SAT 10/16

In case you weren't sure which continent is the largest, the 25th annual Asian American Festival and its 1,500 performers will answer resoundingly: Asia is huge. Costumes, dancing, drums, food and more will transport you to Shanghai, Laos, Japan, Bangladesh and beyond. From noon until dusk, Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17. Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hermann Park, 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-861-8270 or visit Free. -- Julia Ramey

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