Top Five Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: The Rite of Summer, Museum Hours, Tommy Davidson and More
Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring gets chopped and screwed for FrenetiCore's The Rite of Summer, our pick for Friday. Rebecca French, the group's artistic director, worked with laptop musician Chris Becker to reimagine the famous score. ''This music is 100 years old,'' French tells us. ''It was ground-breaking at the time it came out; it was this amazing avant-garde, atonal, bizarre, riot-inducing music. There's so much more that we can do with music electronically now that to not manipulate it, to not reimage the score seems like a crime. We thought, 'Let's have fun and approach it the same way that [Stravinsky] did 100 years ago and take some risks.' And at my request, yes, there is a chopped-and-screwed section.''
Photo by Lynn Lane The Rite of Summer
French and her group of dancers created completely new choreography for the 40-minute-long non-narrative work. ''We were really playful with it,'' says French. ''We're playing with the concepts of The Rite of Spring, not re-enacting it.'' Among the most notable differences is the work's ending. 'There's always some sort of dance to the death at the end and that's just so depressing to me. 'Oh, it's a woman being raped; oh great,' and then you see another one and it's a human sacrifice. I thought, 'Yeah, no, let's just like change that. We're doing something more life-affirming.''' Along with music by Becker, The Rite of Summer features visual art and projections by Varina Rush and costumes by Ashley Horn. The evening begins with a performance by members of Psophonia dance company.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 832-426-4624 or visit the Freneticore website. $15 to $25.
Jem Cohen's 2012 feature film Museum Hours, our second recommendation for Friday, focuses on the burgeoning relationship between Johann, a guard at Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Art Museum, and Anne, an American denizen of the museum. Formerly a road manager for rock bands, Johann has a discerning eye for both the artwork and the visitors to the museum as they offer their own various interpretations and sometimes unintentional reproductions of the works. In June, the New York Times's A.O. Scott said: ''Museum Hours seems to wander and ruminate, collecting stray moments and fleeting impressions that gradually -- and perhaps only in retrospect -- snap together to reveal an intriguing pattern of emotion and significance.''
Museum Hours screens in German and English, with English subtitles. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m. Monday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit the museum's website. $9.
Photographer Susi Brister is a landscape artist, but she says her work is influenced more by Jim Henson than by Ansel Adams. Her new exhibit, ''Fantastic Habitat,'' now at Lawndale Art Center and one of our picks for Saturday, displays her photographs of ambiguous forms covered in fur or fabric that are inserted into natural landscapes. ''My previous work was about the form and less about the landscape. Now it's about how those forms are interacting with the landscape, how they're trying to adapt to a new environment as if it were its new natural habitat.''
In one piece, Brister has covered a form with fabric showing a mountain range and photographed that form in front of a similar landscape. ''My desire is to bridge the gap between real and make-believe. At the very heart of it, I'm really tied to the land, tied to nature. I'm interested in investigating how, in this contemporary world, we still connect with that.''
See Susi Brister's ''Fantastic Habitat" 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Through September 28. 4912 Main. For information, call 713-528-5858 or visit the Lawndale Art Center website. Free.
The guest artist at the Mercury -- The Orchestra Redefined's 8 Seasons concert, set for Saturday, has a familiar name: Plante. Mercury's Antoine Plante is conducting the orchestra as they perform a combination of classical composer Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons and tango master Astor Piazzoll's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Plante's brother, Denis Plante, performs on bandoneon (a small accordion-like instrument used in tango). ''The idea is to put these two Seasons up against each other. We're taking Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which is very dynamic and really shows Vivaldi at his best. Then we put on top of that Piazzoll's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. These pieces were written 250 years later, and they have a definite tango feel. Luckily, we have a chance to work with one of the best bandoneon players in the world...who just happens to be my older brother,'' Plante says. ''It's a very audience-friendly show with the great energy from Vivaldi and then the passion of Piazzoll.''
Mercury - The Orchestra Redefined
The performance starts at 8 p.m. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Drive. For information, call 713-533-0080 or visit the orchestra's website. Free.
Comedian/actorTommy Davidson, closing out his weekend stint at the Improv on Sunday, might have to be cajoled a bit in order to do his impression of the late Sammy Davis Jr. The famously honed impression became a staple on In Living Color, FOX's answer to Saturday Night Live, but it's not standard in Davidson stand-up routines.
''I used to do Sammy, but I'm afraid I'm going to get haunted, man,'' Davidson homages, twisting his lip to one side of his face threateningly while popping one eye in a scary, glassy tribute. ''I'll wake up in the middle of the night and Sammy will be standing at the end of my bed. 'Can I talk to your ass for a minute?''' A five-time Image Awards nominee for his work in Disney's The Proud Family (think a cartoon The Cosby Show), more recently Davidson parlayed his blacksploitation satire Black Dynamite into a new animated project on the considerably edgier Adult Swim network.
Tommy Davidson performs at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Improv Comedy Showcase, 7620 Katy Freeway. For information, call 713‑333‑8800 or visit the club's website. $20 to $32.
Nancy Ford contributed to this post.