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Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Bless the Orange Show, C. Robert Cargill, "Guitar Art" by Pen Morrison and More

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The Orange Show's media and marketing guru, Jonathan Beitler, explains the annual Bless the Orange Show performance, one of our choices for Friday, this way: "It's a way for the Orange Show to cleanse the stage after the last performances, renew the space and make sure we have a good season. "We're inviting a creative spirit into the community and continuing to foster it." More selfishly, Beitler admits, the annual blessing hopefully ensures that the outdoor venue's always-eclectic season will be blessed with favorable weather throughout the year. (Hey, whatever works.) During the blessing, transcendental singer/songwriter Tyagaraja conducts an on-site Fire Ceremony (an ancient Vedic ritual and performance employing music, dance, chanting, and flame). Culminating with classical Indian dance, the evening also offers a tabla and percussion performance with Alaap Parikh and Gunjen Mittal.

Tyagaraja leads the blessing at the Orange Show on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Orange Show, 2402 Munger. For information, visit the Orange Show's website or call 713-926-6368. $10.

When Westerners think about Africa, most conjure up images of war, blood diamonds and the HIV epidemic. Widely considered the "father of African cinema," Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, wants to change that. So, to dispel those narrow associations, Sembène gave viewers Faat Kiné, our second pick for Friday. The refreshingly hilarious and insightful film was shot as a tribute to "the everyday heroism of African women," Sembène says. Faat Kiné (played by Venus Seye) is a seemingly non-heroic African woman who finds herself in the already nontraditional gender role of gas station operator. Faat's even greater challenge than petrol inventories and intrusive dipsticks is balancing her personal independence with the less-than-progressive traditions and attitudes of her homeland and fellow countrymen. Mahen Bonetti, founder and director of the New York African Film Festival, is guest film curator for Faat Kiné, which is part of Museum of Fine Art Houston's Shades of Love: Romance in Contemporary African Cinema series.

See Faat Kiné on Friday at 7 p.m. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, visit the museum's website or call 713-639-7515. $9.

On Saturday, artist/designer Pen Morrison brings her "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer - Guitar Art, No Strings Attached" series of guitar sculpture to Cactus Music for a six-week long exhibit. "The guitars are very much my homage to the old-school blues guys," Morrison told our reporter William Michael Smith after an encounter at last year's iFest. "There's a dignity in what they did. They never really got their proper due and they would've done it whether they got paid or not. It was who they were, and that's something I want to show respect for." Morrison makes each guitar shape out of steel, but adds bits of wood, paper and other found materials to the sculptures. The series includes odes to Johnny Cash, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, T-Bone Walker and George Harrison.

There's an opening reception on Saturday, March 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. Regular viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through April 14. 2110 Portsmouth. For information, visit the store's website or call 713-869-9424. Free.

Writer C. Robert Cargill, in town on Saturday to discuss and sign his debut novel Dreams and Shadows, has had three very successful careers. He was a film critic (he wrote for Ain't It Cool News, Film.com and Hollywood.com for more than a decade). He gave up that gig to become a screenwriter (he co-wrote the recent horror flick Sinister with director Scott Derrickson). And now, he's a novelist. True, it's all writing, but believe us, each requires very different muscles and very few people have the skill to do all three much less to do all three very, very well which is what Cargill has done.

The just released Dreams and Shadows is justifiably getting rave reviews. It's the story of two men, Ewan and Colby. They seem to be normal ... well, as normal-ish as they can be given that they spent their childhoods in the Limestone Kingdom, a magical place filled with genies, fairies and monsters. Don't be fooled. These genies don't live in bottles (at least not if they can help it) and while the one that Colby meets does grant him some wishes, he also sets him on a ruinous life path. These fairies are bloodthirsty. And these monsters, well, let's just say they love brutality. Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom, but they couldn't leave behind the ramifications of their time there. Dark and filled emotional sucker punches, Dreams and Shadows is enthralling. Cargill has created a wholly original universe and filled it with mesmerizing, if also menacing, creatures.

Austin based Cargill discusses and signs his new novel on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet. For information, visit the bookstore's website or call 713-524-8597. Free.

On Sunday Houston artist Jeremy De Prez has been boning up on French installation artist Jean Pierre Raynaud's work to lead a discussion as part of the Menil's The Artist's Eye series--but don't expect a straightforward lecture. "The talk isn't really going to be solely focused on Raynaud's oeuvre. My discovery of the catalogue for Raynaud's 1991 Menil show is serving as a catalyst for a more pluralized discussion," he says, adding that he'll touch on other influences and issue that relate to Raynaud's work both directly and indirectly. De Prez feels that when Raynaud first appeared in the early 1960s, the art world was "heavily congested" and he subsequently got marginalized with almost no recognition in America.

Hear what Jeremy De Prez has to say about Jean Pierre Raynaud on Sunday at 3 p.m. Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross. For information, visit the museum's website or call 713-525-9400. Free.

Nancy Ford and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.

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