On Friday, we've got dueling art show openings. Luckily, the openings are staggered so you can easily attend both. First is ">20 Square Feet." Independent art curator Matt Adams noticed a lack of exhibits of large-format works, so he organized one, (The show's title refers to the minimum size of each of the works.)
"There are artists creating large works," Adams tells us, "but there aren't many places to exhibit paintings that big." Working with Arts Brookfield, Adams arranged exhibition space in the lobby of a downtown office building. Among the 19 works from Houston and Austin artists included in the show are Sandy Ewen's polymer microcollage Untitled (Green) and Adam Brackman's time-lapse photograph Zoom.
The show includes a Buy-the-Square-Foot program, in which several artists have agreed to sell sections of their work by the square foot. "If someone wants to buy just a part of a painting, after the show the artist will sell it to them. They can say they want a square foot or whatever size they want. They can even select which section they want."
There's an open reception for ">20 Square Feet" at 4 p.m. on December 13. Regular viewing hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Through January 31. 1600 Smith (formerly the Continental Center 1). For information, visit artsbrookfield.com. Free.
Also on Friday, it's the opening of "NeoPopStreetFunk 5." Curators Nicky Davis and Kevin Sechelski started their own group show when they found a lack of local exhibiting opportunities. Focusing on guerrilla art with an attitude, the two called it "NeoPopStreetFunk" in order to cover the range of styles it included. This year, the duo has put together a collection of work from 22 artists including Houston's DUAL, Ho Chi Minh City's Kristopher Kotcher, Austin's Graham Franciose (see his The Morning Tromp above), Miami's Alex Yanes and local organizers Davis and Sechelski.
There's an opening reception for "NeoPopStreetFunk 5" at 7 p.m. on December 13. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Through January 5. Gallery M Squared, 339 West 19th. For information, call 713-861-6070 or visit neopopstreetfunk.com. Free.
Looking for some kid-appropriate Christmas fun? How about How the Grinch Stole Xmas, with two concerts set for Saturday morning. The Grinch about as cuddly as a cactus, and his heart might be full of unwashed socks, but that doesn't stop the Houston Symphony from telling his musical tale in the seasonal family concert. Helping the symphony like a support chorus of Whos from Whoville will be Houston Grand Opera vocalist Reginald Smith Jr. and the Woodlands High School Chorus. And while the Cat in the Hat remains the most memorable character to spring from the fertile, creative brain of the good Dr. Seuss (born Theodor Geisel), it's the calculating, Santa-impersonating creature of indeterminate species and a heart "two sizes too small" who lords over the holiday season.
10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-224-7575 or houstonsymphony.org. $28.
Maybe you're looking for some slightly more grown-up Christmas fun. We recommend ComedySportz Houston's A Christmas Carol: Unscripted a welcome departure from the incessant retellings of Charles Dickens's seasonal classic. The recognizable past-present-future theme is still followed, but very loosely for this Saturday night series.
"A Christmas Carol was our first unscripted show, which we did in 2009," says Dianah Dulany, founding director of the troupe, which has been making Houstonians laugh for more than 23 years. ComedySportz went on to lampoon other holiday standards such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's A Wonderful Life. "This year, we opened it up to our fans to vote on what they wanted to see, and they wanted to see A Christmas Carol."
Six cast members provide the structure of the scenes, utilizing audience suggestions. For example, it's been suggested that Christmas Present, instead of carrying a goblet, carry a bong. "And Scrooge does not always work at a 'bank,'" Dulany adds. "We've gotten 'a strip club.' Once, Tiny Tim was dying of pregnancy. Sometimes we even pull in audience members, if it's a fun crowd," Dulany adds.
10:30 p.m. Saturdays. Through December. 28. 901 Town & Country. For information, call 713-868-1444 or visit comedysportzhouston.com. $8 to $12.
In 1960, legendary film French director Jean-Luc Godard was riding high on the critical and commercial success of his debut feature film, Breathless. The stylish thriller would epitomize the "French New Wave" of cinema. But you can still see Godard toying with camera angles, thematic content and his love of American film noir with his second effort, Le Petit Soldat ("The Little Soldier"), seen here on Saturday and Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
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Filmed in Geneva and set during the Algerian war for independence, it tells the story of a French right-wing secret agent (Michel Subor) who has deserted the army. When he can't quite seem to fulfill his mission to assassinate a young and fetching woman of the left wing (Anna Karina) and the pair fall in love, he is suspected of being a double agent.
The film's torture sequences and political overtones are so heavy that it was actually banned in France for three years. "Given this attitude, it might seem strange that Le Petit Soldat is funny [but] it is, for long stretches," Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film. "And usually the laughs are grisly; we wince at the same time."
7 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $9.
Bob Ruggiero and Nancy Ford contributed to this post.