Bobby Lee, our favorite queer Korean--American stand-up comedian who isn't Margaret Cho, hits Houston this week and is one of our picks for Friday. Proudly teasing on Twitter recently that he's "a koi fish farmer and a sexual deviant," the veteran of an eight-year hitch on Mad TV as well as the Harold and Kumar film franchise, Pineapple Express and other hefty box-office smashes drops in town for a weekend run. With any luck, Lee will reach into his bag of vintage bits and do a little Connie Chung or Kim Jong-il. Our personal favorite? The Blind Kung-fu Master.
See Bobby Lee at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Improv Comedy Club, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, visit the club's website or call 713-333-8800 $30.
Having hosted works by artists and filmmakers such as Andy Warhol, George Lucas and Gus Van Sant over the years, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is the premier avant garde film and new media showcase. This year's festival is over, but experimental film fans can still enjoy some of the selections at the Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm Touring Program, hosted by the Aurora Picture Show and our second pick for Friday. The 16 mm Film Tour features abstract and surrealistic works from ten filmmakers who are exploring a variety of topics. In Tokyo-Ebisu, a hectic Tokyo subway is examined with in-camera effects and purposeful soundtrack while a single-shot work, A Preface to Red, examines movement and color. In Under the Shadow of Marcus Mountain, a part of a series of works from filmmaker Robert Schaller, rudimentary filming techniques reveal an -ethereal look at a mountainside landscape.
Catch the Ann Arbor Film Festival 16mm Touring Program at 7:30 p.m. 2442 Bartlett St. For information, visit the Aurora Picture Show website or call 713‑868‑2101. Free to $10.
Teresa Chapman's choreography, Lucinda Cobley's art and Daniel McDaniel's costumes come together for Shifting Spaces: A Collaborative Dance Series, selections from a work in progress, one of our recommendations for Saturday. A quartet of dancers (Kristin Krankiewicz, Roberta Cortez, Catalina Molnari and Mallory Horn) wearing floor-length skirts move between pedestals scattered throughout the Wade Wilson Art gallery. On the walls hang transparent paintings by Cobley. The project was born when Chapman and Cobley casually discussed the commonalities between their respective art forms, including the way both use movement within a limited space and the interaction between shadow and light and composition. The completed series will be performed next fall.
You have two chances to see Shifting Spaces, at 6:30 and 8 p.m. on Saturday. 4411 Montose. For information, visit the Chapman Dance website. Free.
The 7th Annual Midtown Art in the Park festival, one of our picks for Saturday, has some really amazing things happening this year that you won't want to miss. First off, in celebration of the newly established Midtown Cultural Arts & Entertainment District, Midtown Houston is commissioning a 4,000-foot mural by Sebastien Boileau showing the history of the city. Festival-goers will be able to watch the epic work as it's installed along the back of 2800 Main. Music, a showing of Urban Cowboy presented by the Alamo Drafthouse's Rolling Road Show, a crepe breakfast, painting parties, hip hop dancing classes, art cars and more will all be on hand for two days showcasing the continued and vibrant art scene that is uniquely Houston's. "I think the diversity and availability of art in Houston is exceptional," said Cynthia Alvarado, Midtown managing director. "I think because Houston is a relatively young city and because we have a lot of transplants here, we're like the Wild West when it comes to art, open, free-spirited, kind of no-holds-barred."
The 7th Annual Midtown Art in the Park festival is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. 2800 Main. For information, visit the festival's website. Free.
Explore Eastern culture at the Japan Festival 2013, our recommendation for Sunday, with two days of performances, music, martial arts demonstrations, cosplay, games and food.
Taiko drummers, classical dancers, JPOP stars and martial arts experts fill multiple stages while vendors, community organizations and food booths circle the Hermann Park reflection pool.
The Houston Press has named the free Japan Festival among the city's best festivals because of its vibrant, fun atmosphere and variety of family-friendly activities.
Get a taste of Japanese culture at 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Hermann Park Japanese Garden, 6001 Fannin. For information, or visit the festival's website or call 713-963-0121. Free.
Jef with One F, Joshua Justice and Nancy Ford contributed to this post.