Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: 2013 French Cultures Festival, Kerouac Fest 2013, The Rite of Spring and More
On Friday the 2013 French Cultures Festival, the sixth annual celebration of all things French across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas kicks off with a free outdoor concert downtown. The French indie group LYS will share the stage with local band The Tontons and the swamp-pop, Cajun band The Revelers. LYS is stopping in Houston before heading to Austin for South by Southwest. Besides the concert, a number of other events are scheduled for the 17-day festival, including film screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, lectures, French cooking classes and more.
Enjoy the kick off concert 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. Other events continue through March 21 at various locations. For information, visit the festival's website or call 713-985-3273. Free.
Our other choice for Friday is Crash Buist's play Evil in Justiceberg. It's making its world premiere here during a Big Head Productions run and is definitely what we would call theater of the absurd. The plot follows Captain Justice, a do-gooder superhero and Justice Lad, his sidekick. The two are fighting their nemesis, the dastardly duo Evil Von Evilstein and Sinister Boy, in an effort to rescue the lovely Lady Legality. Buist wrote Justiceberg to give both actors and audiences a chance to delve into a preposterous world for a little while. "I thought it would be fun to develop a group of ridiculous, campy characters and send them on an entertaining adventure. As an actor/playwright, I was interested in writing something that would be an opportunity for actors to play characters in intensely ridiculous circumstances, that are out of the bounds of realism and extend well past the fourth wall," Buist tells us. "Moreover, I wanted to write something fun."
Leighza Walker directs the six-person cast which includes Tom Stell as Captain Justice, Jon Harvey as Evil Von Evilstein and Autumn Woods as Lady Legality. Buist is busy with school (he's in the MFA program at the University of Houston) and his own upcoming performances, so he hasn't had much time to work with Walker and the cast, but he isn't worried. "Leighza is a talented director and a gifted playwright, and I don't doubt her ability to take whatever silly dialogue I wrote out and make it soar."
See Evil in Justiceberg at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, March 11 and 20. Through March 23. Obsidian Art Space, 3522 White Oak. For information, visit the Obsidian website or call 832-889-7837. Pay-what-you-can to $20 (Fully costumed superheroes get in free.)
Author Jack Kerouac, who lived fast, died young, and spawned the Beat Generation in his wake, is among the most romantic literary figures in contemporary times. On Saturday, the Orange Show showcases Kerouac's contributions to the world of art in its Kerouac Fest 2013 Go!Go!Go! The triple G's are a quote from Kerouac's most famous work, On the Road, a semi-autobiographical novel of jazz, travel and drug use that remains incredibly influential on today's writers: "Out we jumped in the warm, mad night, hearing a wild tenorman bawling horn across the way, going 'EEYAH! EEYAH! EEYAH!' and hands clapping to the beat and folks yelling, 'Go, go, go!'" On the Road is the main focus of the festival, with selected readings from the novel. Other events include panel discussions and poetry readings by Gerald Cedillo, Stephen Gros, Ken Jones, Dean Liscum and Tracy Lyall. The mood will be set with jazz performances from Free Radicals and the Cory Wilson Trio.
Go! Go! Go! on Saturday, 3 to 10 p.m. The Orange Show, 2402 Munger. For information, visit the Orange Show website or call 713-926-6368. $10 to $15.
Savion Glover, the young artist who almost single-handedly revived tap dancing for the hip-hop generation pays tribute to those who came before him in SoLe Sanctuary on Saturday. Glover gives a nod to such dancers as Jimmy Slyde, Lon Chaney, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., Dianne Walker and Honey Coles. Photos of the dancers surround Glover on stage during SoLe Sanctuary. "It's the first time I actually have their pictures onstage with a voice-over that speaks to their contributions," Glover says via press materials. "These are people I've been fortunate enough to spend time with, learn from, and love."
See tap sensation Savion Glover at 8 p.m. on Saturday at The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. For information, visit the Grand's website or call 800-821-1894. $25 to $98.
The Houston Ballet mounts a mixed repertory program filled with firsts in The Rite of Spring, which includes a Sunday performance. Stanton Welch's reinterpretation of the seminal work by the same title that was first performed in 1913 sees its world premiere. Wildly dramatic, the piece has been on Welch's to-do list since he was very young. "Rite of Spring, for me, has been on my dream list of ballets to choreograph for a very long time," he says via press materials. "I've seen many versions of Rite of Spring. It just felt, coming up on the 100th anniversary ... I wanted to create something that's unique just for us." The first ever performance of the ballet, with music by Stravinsky and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company, nearly caused a riot among the audience. Each reinterpretation since then has also pushed the accepted boundaries of ballet and a century after it was written, the music has remained untamed. "It's something that still sounds modern and new and dangerous," Welch says.
Photo by Amitava Sarkar Joseph Walsh in The Rite of Spring
Also on the program is Edwaard Liang's Murmuration; CK it's the first commissioned work the internationally renowned choreographer has created for the Houston Ballet. And Mark Morris's Pacific sees its company debut.
See The Rite of Spring at 7:30 p.m. March 9, 15 and 16, 2 p.m. March 10 and 17. Wortham Theater, 501 Texas. For information, visit the Houston Ballet website or call 713-227-2787. $19 to $155.
Crystal Brannen and Jef with One F contributed to this post.