Top Five Things to Do This Weekend in Houston: MountainFilm on Tour, God of Carnage, La Bayadère and More
You'll have two chances to catch the MountainFilm on Tour film festival, with screenings on Friday and Saturday. Since 2000, MountainFilm on Tour has been going on tour around the country to bring its unique adventure and avant-garde showcases to a wider audience. This year the festival gives Houstonians the chance to see Tiffany Shlain's Yelp (With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg's "Howl"). Clocking in at just over five minutes, the Peter Coyote-narrated short is a raging, ranting essay on the apathy that comes from being part of a society always plugged into an ever-widening net of online connectivity. The result plays like a good Bill Hicks end piece, but with the urgency and scope of a Great Dictator. More epic in scale is Jeff Orlowski's documentary Chasing Ice. The film follows James Balog as he chronicles the melting of -glaciers all over the world with time-lapse -photography. The footage, which inevitably shows the giant masses of ice shrinking remarkably quickly, is alarming.
See MountainFilm on Tour 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore. For information, visit the Asia Society Texas Center website or call 713‑496‑9901. $35 to $60.
Anyone who sits down to watch God of Carnage has to realize that what follows won't exactly be realistic, says Kim Tobin, actress and co--artistic director of Stark Naked Theatre (the group was one of our MasterMind Awards winners earlier this year). Playwright Yasmina Reza's tale of two couples meeting to discuss their children's playground fighting is our pick for Friday. The story starts off ordinarily enough but soon leaves the planet as the four parents involved behave increasingly, incredibly badly. "It should feel uncomfortable and fun," Tobin promises, since these actors say all the outrageous kinds of things people think about saying but usually (thank God) don't. And, in the end, she says, "It's cathartic." Because audiences can walk out afterward knowing that saying all those mean, nasty things a) really doesn't get you anywhere and b) is going to make things a whole lot worse. Even if you've seen the movie and last year's production at the Alley Theatre (with visiting actors), Tobin promises the intensity will be ratcheted up even more in the small space afforded by the stage at Spring Street Studios. So be ready to duck as tulips and tempers fly and words and vomit spew forth. Local actors Tobin, Drake Simpson, Kay Allmand and John Gremillion star in the play, which is directed by Justin Doran.
God of Carnage runs 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and March 4, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through March 9. 1824 Spring Street. For information, visit the Stark Naked Theatre website or call 832-866-6514. "Pay What You Can" to $20.
The most dramatic scene in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère, our recommendation for Saturday, is Kingdom of the Shades, in which the women of the Houston Ballet's corps de ballet, each dressed in a white tutu, enter one by one performing a simple walking-into-arabesque movement. The dancers form an undulating line until the stage is filled with identical figures executing extremely precise movements. "The image of all of the women coming on is very hypnotic, very mesmerizing," says principal dancer Connor Walsh via press materials. "It's so simple and so pure, but I've always found it so powerful."
Photo by Amitava Sarkar Nozomi Iijima in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère
La Bayadère is the story of Solor, a warrior who falls in love with Nikiya, a temple dancer. To complicate matters, Gamzatti, the ruler's daughter, is set to marry Solor, and the high priest is in love with Nikiya. Filled with jealousy and spite, Gamzatti plots to kill Nikiya, but her plan fails to keep the young lovers apart forever. Set in ancient India, La Bayadère has been described as "Bollywood meets classical ballet," and Welch's choreography is filled with exotic, fiery movements.
See Stanton Welch's ballet of love and loss at 7:30 p.m. February 23. Performances continue through March 3. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For a full schedule, visit the Houston Ballet's website or call 713-227-2787. $19 to $180.