When we feel like takin' in an eyeful of cowboys teachin' livestock a lesson, when we got a hankerin' fer the romance of lively country dancin' in the open air, the fiesta rodeo jamboree comes through. Most Saturday nights, the big metal shed out on 288 roils with arena events, play-day festivities (many of which may involve small animals and smaller children, just a-tumblin' in the dust) and Tejano music. Anyone with a little folding money and boots to scoot is welcome, and everyone is encouraged to dance. Sure, it's hot, but vendor snacks and chilled libations help keep your energy up. Just don't call 'em libations in front of the goat-ropers. It's not the cowboy way.
Out of the mysterious variables of love came David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Proof, a play about familial love, genius and the terrible effects of madness on family. And for a brief two weeks Proof came to Houston, where it glowed at the Wortham Theater with a thousand megawatts of intellectual power. Rarely does a nonmusical drama garner so much success that it earns a national tour, but Proof provided that sizzling combination of wit, whodunit suspense and tender heart that continues to make live theater feel vital.

Out of the mysterious variables of love came David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Proof, a play about familial love, genius and the terrible effects of madness on family. And for a brief two weeks Proof came to Houston, where it glowed at the Wortham Theater with a thousand megawatts of intellectual power. Rarely does a nonmusical drama garner so much success that it earns a national tour, but Proof provided that sizzling combination of wit, whodunit suspense and tender heart that continues to make live theater feel vital.

The Alley Theatre's November production of Yasmina Reza's Art sparkled with smart ideas about art, modern lifestyles and our passion for everything "fashionable." Reza's flawless script gleefully deconstructs all the folly in our pathetically solipsistic world, including homeopathic medicine, psychotherapy and ridiculously high-priced paintings -- the one in the Alley's production was nothing more than a white canvas on which were drawn three white lines. The Alley's double cast pulled off Reza's insipid world of black clothes and hushed manners with hysterical understatement as they quietly moaned and groaned their way through a number of contemporary anxieties, including the difficulties of family and money, especially when the two are twisted up together. Of course, everything came down to hysterical fisticuffs in the end, when the well-heeled characters couldn't hold in their troubles anymore. Funny as all this was, the best part came later, after the show was over and the actors had gone home. Just a short drive through Houston's streets, full of slick cars and modern town houses, makes everything Reza says about the sad state of our affairs ring dreadfully true.
The Alley Theatre's November production of Yasmina Reza's Art sparkled with smart ideas about art, modern lifestyles and our passion for everything "fashionable." Reza's flawless script gleefully deconstructs all the folly in our pathetically solipsistic world, including homeopathic medicine, psychotherapy and ridiculously high-priced paintings -- the one in the Alley's production was nothing more than a white canvas on which were drawn three white lines. The Alley's double cast pulled off Reza's insipid world of black clothes and hushed manners with hysterical understatement as they quietly moaned and groaned their way through a number of contemporary anxieties, including the difficulties of family and money, especially when the two are twisted up together. Of course, everything came down to hysterical fisticuffs in the end, when the well-heeled characters couldn't hold in their troubles anymore. Funny as all this was, the best part came later, after the show was over and the actors had gone home. Just a short drive through Houston's streets, full of slick cars and modern town houses, makes everything Reza says about the sad state of our affairs ring dreadfully true.
When the artist Weihong attended openings for her gallery shows, she noticed that patrons seemed more interested in the philosophy behind her work than the actual art. So she put together an interactive show where people could sit down and discuss Chinese philosophy with her over tea. The gallery was divided into white and black areas, and guests were asked to show up dressed in neutrals. They sat at a black-and-white table, and drank from black-and-white cups, and, well, talked with Weihong about the yin and the yang. Guests then had their photos taken and posted on the Internet (one participant appears in black underwear, and the mug of the ubiquitous Carolyn Farb can also be found on the Web site), and the tea leaves were dried out and added to a glass display case for the end of the show. In the end, 143 people took her up on the offer to have a one-on-one with the artist. No doubt all of them learned, as Weihong says, that tea tastes better with company.

When the artist Weihong attended openings for her gallery shows, she noticed that patrons seemed more interested in the philosophy behind her work than the actual art. So she put together an interactive show where people could sit down and discuss Chinese philosophy with her over tea. The gallery was divided into white and black areas, and guests were asked to show up dressed in neutrals. They sat at a black-and-white table, and drank from black-and-white cups, and, well, talked with Weihong about the yin and the yang. Guests then had their photos taken and posted on the Internet (one participant appears in black underwear, and the mug of the ubiquitous Carolyn Farb can also be found on the Web site), and the tea leaves were dried out and added to a glass display case for the end of the show. In the end, 143 people took her up on the offer to have a one-on-one with the artist. No doubt all of them learned, as Weihong says, that tea tastes better with company.

Yes, we find it curious that they serve breakfast, but hey, why complain about a place that brings Houston live jazz in an upscale setting six nights a week? We've felt nothing but good vibes from the high beamed ceilings, comfortable bar and live music that spills out onto the street as we approach this fine addition to Houston's downtown scene. For those of us who for years choked on smoke in claustrophobic clubs just to hear some good jazz, the Red Cat is a welcome change.

Yes, we find it curious that they serve breakfast, but hey, why complain about a place that brings Houston live jazz in an upscale setting six nights a week? We've felt nothing but good vibes from the high beamed ceilings, comfortable bar and live music that spills out onto the street as we approach this fine addition to Houston's downtown scene. For those of us who for years choked on smoke in claustrophobic clubs just to hear some good jazz, the Red Cat is a welcome change.

Graffito. Most people don't recognize the word, the singular form of graffiti. Even fewer recognize the vernacular term, graf. However, many a Montrose pedestrian or driver recognizes the dour face of Chicken Boy, whether they know the name or not. Wooden cutouts of the cartoony yellow-faced guy with a red cock's-comb hat keep watch from all over the neighborhood. This past Christmas, posters of the curious kid displayed him with his cock's comb transmogrified into a Santa hat, with "Steal This Poster" printed at the top. (We stole one. Tee-hee.) Who is this guy? Mike "Miguelito" Andrews created the image as a poster campaign while earning his arts degree at the University of Texas in Austin. The school gladly awarded Andrews a grant to pursue his Warhol-inspired concept of "becoming famous by being famous," by planting the icon across the globe. Working out of his 5,000-square-foot home studio (OneTen Studios, a.k.a. Chicken Boy World Headquarters) near Minute Maid Park, he has held five collaborative shows in less than a year, most recently the graf exhibit "Eye of the Beholder," which included the collective Aerosol Warfare. This is no ordinary feat. No, sir. This is a job for Chicken Boy.

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