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NobleMotion's Man Overboard! is an evening of dance that includes a power-hungry ruler, rain, and rocking ships in a storm.
NobleMotion's Man Overboard! is an evening of dance that includes a power-hungry ruler, rain, and rocking ships in a storm.
Photo by Lynn Lane

10 Best Bets This Weekend: Power, Pageants and Giant Pekingese Puppies

A Machiavellian ruler, a victim turned predator, and giant Pekingese puppies? WTF is right, we're looking at some Weird, Thought-provoking and Fantastical programming this weekend in the Bayou City. In addition to those dance, theater and film offerings, we've got all-female wrestling, an art opening, Dog Day at the Astros and two nights of acrobatic martial arts.

What would it take to pit husband against wife? In the case of Death and the Maiden, set in Chile during a period when the country was transitioning from oppression to democracy, the wife thinks she has found the ringleader of a group of men who raped her during her time as a political prisoner. She captures the man in hopes of gaining a confession but her husband isn't so sure she's got the right guy — and thus sets up the conflict for this play by Argentine-Chilean-American playwright Ariel Dorfman, presented by the Houston Equity Festival. Producer and actor Jeff Wax, in an interview with the Houston Press last month, says the play isn't for young children but will surely spark discussion about what we would do if the power shifted within our government and we were suddenly deemed dangerous.

Performances of Death and the Maiden are scheduled for August 22-24, August 26 and August 29-September 1 at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, as well as one Monday and Sunday at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring Street. For information, visit daingeist.wixsite.com/htownequityfestival. $20.

Art imitates life and so it seems does artificial intelligence. We'll see examples of both when NobleMotion kicks off its 11th season with a cutting-edge evening of dance that includes the dark and witty subversive comedy, I approve this message, where a Machiavellian majesty directs a comedy of errors from atop a 14-foot throne. And, in what will be the biggest collaboration yet for artistic directors Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble, we'll see an exploration of man versus machine in Prometheus, a sort of live A.I. dance video that employs the talents of a light designer and an A.I. researcher, as well as technology, sound and industrial design artists. A few favorite works also are being reprised for Man Overboard!; there's the rain-filled Tower with 33 dancers as unrelenting waves and the trio of rocking set pieces in Unsinkable.

Performances of Man Overboard! are scheduled for August 23-24 at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit thehobbycenter.org or noblemotiondance.com. $20 to $38.

Oprah's on board, and so is Angela Davis and even a posthumous Muhammad Ali. But at the heart of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am are filmed interviews with the 88-year-old master storyteller herself as she examines her life, her works, and the powerful themes she confronted throughout her literary career. The documentary came out in June and we're still grieving from the news of her death earlier this month. Come experience this artful and intimate meditation through candid conversations with this legendary Nobel Prize winner.

Screenings of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am are scheduled for August 23-24 from 7-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 14 Pews, 800 Aurora. For information, call 281-888-9677  or visit 14pews.org. $11.

Whenever there's talk that our jobs might be taken over by robots, there are always a few exceptions: being a physician, artist or journalist requires empathy, creativity or the ability to create something original rather than aggregated. Which is why we love the resident artists over at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; while we're hurtling down Main Street on our way to and fro, they're in their studios doing amazing things with clay, fiber, metal, wood and mixed media. This Friday is opening night for "In Residence: 11th Edition," with open studios and brewski from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. for the 21-and-up crowd. Then come back Saturday when Molly Koehn will demonstrate a double-weaving process.

The exhibition reception is scheduled for August 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday. The artist demo with Molly Koehn is scheduled for August 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. "In Residence: 11th Edition" is scheduled for August 24-October 20 at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main. For information, call 713-529-4848 or visit crafthouston.org. Free.

Sam Cooke would have been singing a different tune right about now. Maybe he didn't know much about history, biology, a science book or the French he took, but this weekend sees a whole new take on Taiwanese history. Formosa Circus Art is set to perform back-to-back shows on the hill this weekend, taking us from Taiwan's earliest ancestors to contemporary culture through dance, acrobatics, martial arts, flags, glass orbs and lanterns. What a wonderful world.

Performances of Formosa Circus Art are scheduled for August 23-24 at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, visit milleroutdoortheatre.com. Free.

Bonus event: Learn more about the creative process behind Formosa Circus Art with an artist talk this Sunday inside the cool, air-conditioned comfort of the Asia Society Texas Center building. Reservations are requested.

Artist Talk: Formosa Circus Art is scheduled for August 25 from 3-4 p.m. Sunday at Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Boulevard. For information, call 713-496-9901 or visit asiasociety.org/texas/events/artist-talk-formosa-circus-art-foca. Free.

Not sure what you're looking at? Diamantino is a Super 16mm film that features stampedes of giant Pekingese puppies.
Not sure what you're looking at? Diamantino is a Super 16mm film that features stampedes of giant Pekingese puppies.
Cinematography by Charles Ackley Anderson, film still courtesy of Kino Lorber

Maybe he should have just stuck with soccer. In this Grand Prize winner for Cannes Critics' Week, Portuguese superstar Diamantino blows it in the World Cup finals, falling from grace but opening his eyes to the world refugee crisis. He sets out to adopt an African refugee and that's when it all goes off the rails with mad scientists, evil twins, Secret Service skullduggery and the biggest stampedes of giant Pekingese puppies you've likely ever seen. It's high camp at its finest with pretty men in their briefs and an overarching promise of the healing power of goodness. In Portuguese with English subtitles.

Screenings of Diamantino are scheduled for August 23-25 at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org/calendar/diamantino. $7 to $9.

While the rest of the country is dealing with an opioid epidemic, we're dealing with a "heroine" crisis and no that's not a typo. Doomsday Wrestling is unveiling its first ever all-woman show with Heroines of Houston, pitting warrior women against fatal females and deadly dames. Expect fake blood, real action, and maybe even a plastic pool filled with whipped cream. This is where fans of wrestling and fans of comedy can meet in the middle for a hilarious show that's not to be missed. As Doomsday Wrestling likes to say, "Violence has never been this funny." Just sayin'.

Heroines of Houston is scheduled for August 24 at 9 p.m. Saturday at Numbers Night Club, 300 Westheimer. For information, call 713-521-1121 or visit doomsdaywrestling.com. $16 to $21.

The only thing scarier than seeing a little girl dolled up in lipstick, wig and provocative clothing is the stage mom right behind her. Houston Roundup takes us inside the hilarious, terrifying and surreal world of child beauty pageants with Pageant Play, where newbies and veterans will do just about anything to earn the crown. This Midsummer Night's Drag presentation mixes in kidnapping, teeny tiny false teeth, and of course plenty of glitz and glamour, courtesy of playwrights Matthew Wilkas and Mark Setlock. Remember, big smiles!

A performance of Pageant Play is scheduled for August 24 at 8 p.m. Saturday at MATCH, 3400 Main. For information, call 713-521-4533 or visit matchouston.org/events/2019/pageant-play. $25 to $60.

Every dog dreams to one day take a lap around the baseball diamond, and those dreams get realized this Sunday when the Houston Astros host their annual Dog Day, presented by Tito's Handmade Vodka. There's a costume contest, a pregame parade around the field, and space reserved for you and your Astros Rally Pup in the standing room section in Home Run Alley. This one's got a lot of fine print, so read the deets, arrange for your tickets in advance and, if your dog can't stand the heat, maybe it's best to leave Fido at home. Oh, and humans will have fun too, watching the 'Stros show the LA Angels exactly who's top dog.

Dog Day, presented by Tito's Handmade Vodka is scheduled for August 25 at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. For information, email dogforms@astros.com or visit mlb.com/astros/tickets/specials/dog-day. $30.

The weekend doesn't wrap until the curtain goes up at 2019's TC Energy Theater District Open House. Experience all the thrills of opening day with this season kick-off that celebrates the finest in professional dance, theater, music and performing arts. Read more in our companion story on Friday, then head out for free performances, behind-the-scenes experiences, and discounts on tickets and subscriptions.

TC Energy Theater District Open House 2019 is scheduled for August 25 from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the following venues: Alley Theatre, 615 Texas; The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby; Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas; Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana; and Revention Music Center, 520 Texas. For information, call 713-658-8938 or visit theaterdistrictopenhouse.com. Free.

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