Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Theater for Millennials, the Benefit Betties and More
Fundraising isn't usually this much fun but the women of the Benefit Betties can't help themselves. Why just have a party when you can have a ball? As in the second annual Benefit Betties Ball: Betties Under the Big Top. The group, founded by burlesque performer Al E. Cat (seen above), raises funds to send care packages to enlisted men and women on duty around the world. "In the past three years the Benefit Betties have managed to send over 150 care packages to soldiers overseas and our annual ball is our main source of income to do our charitable work," Al E. Cat says via press materials . "[With the Benefit Betties Ball] we hope to raise funds to continue our work supporting the troops."
Al E. Cat, founder of the Benefit Betties
Entertainment for Saturday's ball is for adults only and includes performances by Rosie Rawhide and Maye Applebottom of the After Dark Revue, Heidi Von Hoop, members of Houston's Burlesque Revue, Dallas's Vivenne Vermuth, Austin's Bethany Summersizzle and freakshow fun with 8E Tribe and Strange Danger Thrillshow. There's also a host of carnival games, circus treats and a Bella Rush Photography photo booth.
The show starts at 6 p.m. the De Gaulle at Hughes Hangar, 2811 Washington. For information, visit benefitbetties.org. $15 to $20.
FotoFest 2014 Biennial, the mega-exhibit of work by international photographers, has a film component this year. Several films, a complement to the contemporary Arab focus of FotoFest, are being screened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Saturday's installment is Ziad Doueiri's 2012 film The Attack. Doueiri's drama asks the question how well do we really know the people we love? The Attack is set amid the Israeli--Palestinian conflict. A promising Arab surgeon working in Tel Aviv is involved in treating victims from a nearby suicide bombing. When one of the deceased turns out to be his wife -- and the likely perpetrator of the massacre -- the doctor is confused. He heads to the West Bank to find some answers, and doesn't like everything he uncovers. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called The Attack "an intelligent, involving movie that's by turns a murder mystery and a politically charged argument about contemporary Palestinian identity."
Filmmaker and University of Houston research professor Carroll Parrott Blue introduces the screening. A question-and-answer session with director Doueiri (one of Blue's former students) via Skype follows.
The Attack screens at 7 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $9.
Just to be clear, no, Norman Jewison's 1973 film Jesus Christ Superstar is not a documentary. (Neither was Steven Spielberg's Lincoln or Oliver Stone's JFK.) Jewison's JC Superstar was a rock opera fantasy by theater world's darlings Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics).
Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson in Jesus Christ Superstar
The film, which is screening on Easter Sunday at Alamo Drafthouse as part of the IFC Slightly Off Cinema Salute to Best Buds, was controversial from the very start. To begin with, Jesus was played by Texas-born rocker Ted Neeley, who didn't have anything close to the angelic voice that might be expected of JC. Neeley screeched, rasped and squealed his way through his performance. It was effective, but not in any way saintly. Judas was played by African American actor Carl Anderson, and both blacks and whites cried racism (for different reasons, of course). Remember Jesus's "My house shall be called a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves" accusation? In the film the temple market that sparks his outrage sells grenades and bongs. The songs were decidedly rock and the lyrics bordered on outrageous. (As Mary Magdalena, Yvonne Elliman sang: "He's a man / He's just a man / And I've had so many men before / In very many ways / He's just one more.")
We're sure it's in this irreverent spirit that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema the screening for its Salute to Best Buds series. (Really, Alamo? Best buds? We think that whole 30 pieces of silver thing would have ended any friendly feelings between Jesus and Judas, but, hey, it's your call.)
See JC Superstar at 6 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Alamo Drafthouse -- Vintage Park, 114 Vintage Park. For information, call 713-715-4707 or visit drafthouse.com/houston. $9.
Jim J. Tommaney and Bob Ruggiero contributed to this post.