Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Theater for Millennials, the Benefit Betties and More

Categories: Top 5

Photo by Jordan Jaffee
Really, Really
Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre, tells us he hopes the company's newest production, Paul Downs Colaizzo's provocative he-said/she-said drama Really Really, draws in 20- and 30-somethings audience members. "My aim is to bring younger people into theater in Houston," Jaffe, who directs the show, says. "Really Really is one of the most important, provocative dramas that has been written about millennials by a millennial. To get millennials to put down their phones and come to the theater, the play has to be relevant to their experiences."

Really, Really, one of our picks for Friday, has been called the Lord of the Flies for the millennial generation. The comparison might not be strong enough. Really Really seems a much more blistering indictment of society, perhaps because the circumstances are so familiar. Set at an ivy league college, the drama centers on a group of students as they try to piece together what happened the night before at a wild keg party. It's clear that two of the friends had sex -- Davis and Leigh (she's Jimmy's girlfriend). But was it an ill-advised hookup or rape? No one is sure, not even, it seems, Davis and Leigh.

The students, overachievers on track to early and brilliant success, each respond differently. From outrage to doubt, sympathy to indifference, the responses reflect not so much compassion or concern as self-centered conceit. ("How will this affect me?" each student seems to be asking.) Jaffe says the play examines the "gray area between ambition and selfishness." Jaffe tells us, "I don't know many people in my generation who have not had to navigate some horror story related to party/hookup culture."

8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and April 21. Through May 4. Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 713-515-4028 or visit $25.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Cakeless Dancers, Magical Doors, Killer Puppets and More

Categories: Top 5

Courtesy of Hope Stone Dance Company
Hope Stone dancers Alonzo Lee Moore IV, Jacquelyne Jay Boeand Shohei Iwahama
Fresh off their uplifting arts-for-all children's program say please and thank you, Hope Stone Dance Company presents i was told there would be cake, one of our choices for Friday. Fans of the video game Portal might have more insight than the average dance-goer about the cake in question. As the catchphrase goes, the cake is a lie. "We are told there's going to be cake," explains Artistic Director Jane Weiner. "But what if there is no cake?"

One of the new works is fandango, a piece for the company's male contingent. It's a multilayered dance, one that's been in gestation for nearly 15 years. "Joe Modlin, who's danced for me forever, remembered years ago that I wanted to do a [male] quintet. One guy broke his knee and another went into rehab, so the piece ended up being two men and a woman. The first day of rehearsal, Joe told me that I wanted to do this in 2000, so it's been in my psyche," explains Weiner.

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston. For information, call 713-526-1907 or visit $20.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: The Wayne Shorter Quartet, John Wiese, Jo Koy and More

Categories: Top 5

Photo by Dorsay Alavi
The Wayne Shorter Quartet
For those who want to see a genuine giant of jazz's golden era in live performance, time isn't on your side. Sure Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Jimmy Heath still perform occasionally, but seeing them on stage is probably going to require a trip to New York or a pricey ticket to a major music festival. Luckily, Da Camera of Houston gives us an opportunity to see Wayne Shorter perform in Houston when the Wayne Shorter Quartet celebrates the legendary saxophonist's 80th birthday on Friday.

Shorter, who led groups under his own hard-bop leanings, was a leading light in jazz fusion, co-founding the ensemble Weather Report. He often played in other men's bands (Art Blakely's Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet). He also penned classics like "Nefertiti," "E.S.P." and "Footprints" (all for Davis). "Wayne is a real composer," the famously skinflinty-with-compliments Davis wrote in his autobiography. "He knew that freedom in music was the ability to know the rules in order to bend them to your satisfaction and taste." Shorter's current quartet -- which features Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums -- released the well-received Without a Net last year.

See the Wayne Shorter Quartet at 8 p.m. Wortham Theater Center, 500 Texas. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit $40 to $65.

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The Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: WIRED, Lucia de Lammermoor, Films by Peter Lucas and Much More

Categories: Top 5

Photo by Les Campbell
Our pick for Friday is FrenetiCore Dance Company's WIRED. Choreographer Rebecca French creates lots of things for the dance company. She creates movements, sounds, video, costumes and sets. And for WIRED, she also created terminology. Promotional materials tout the program as an evening of "Streaming bodies. Athletic intelligence. A visual feast of choreographic surprises." The visual feast and choreographic surprises we're used to (French is one of the most talented and innovative dancemakers in town); it's the streaming bodies and athletic intelligence that trip us up a bit.

"I was thinking of artificial intelligence, but instead of machines I thought of [our bodies]," she tells us while on a break from assembling costumes. "That's not artificial, but it is intelligence. It's like we've gone to school to train our muscles to do all these athletic, physical things the same way that we went to school to learn how to read. I was also thinking of the highly evolved machines that dancers are." She pauses, then adds, "Plus, I just thought it sounded cool."

At one point there's a dancer wearing a camera; French says that's where the term "streaming bodies" comes in. "The audience is able to see what she sees projected on the wall behind her on a live feed. The audience sees her and sees what she sees as well." At another point, video is projected onto the dancers onstage, their costumes becoming screens for the images. "The dancers become the canvas as well as the artwork."

Guest performers include circus and dance troupe Cirque La Vie, which will be dancing inside a giant metal wheel and jhon stronks artistic director of the sunlight will be incorporating directives from his Facebook followers via a live feed.

As is French's tendency, there's no narrative to the works. "There's no story; it's actually one of our more abstract shows. We're just happy robots dancing onstage."

See WIRED at 8 p.m. March 28, 29 and 31 and April 3, 4 and 5. Frenetic Theater, 5102 Navigation. For information, call 832­387­7440 or visit Pay­what­you­can to $25.

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The Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Five Funny French Films, American Idiot, Neon Dash and More

Categories: Top 5

Ludivine Sagnier and Nicolas Bedos in Alexandre Castagnetti's Amour et turbulences
It's a weekend of hilarity -- hilarity with an accent -- at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Five Funny French Films festival, an annual gathering of contemporary French comedies. Friday starts off with Regis Roinsard's Populaire (2012), in which the sexual politics of the 1950s are played out via a small-town woman's quest to be judged the fastest typist in France. Also on Friday is Alexandre Castagnetti's Amour et turbulences (2013), the story of two former lovers thrown together during a long flight. The couple rehash their affair, which didn't end well, much to the amusement of fellow travelers, all of whom happily add their own opinions to the spirited exchange.

On Saturday, Laurent Truel's La grande boucle (2013) chronicles the adventures of an amateur cyclist who competes in his own Tour de France by riding a day ahead of the official racers. Serge Bozon's Tip Top (2013) also screens on Saturday. For mature audiences, Tip Top is a deadpan comedy starring Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Kiberlain as two internal-affairs cops investigating murder and corruption.

On Sunday is Antonin Peretjatko's 2013 La fille du 14 Juillet, a road movie that follows a pair of lazy Louvre security guards who are headed to the beach, only to find out the government is about to reduce the usual month-long vacation. Max Linder's 1921 silent Sept ans de malheur, the first Hollywood feature starring French comedian Linder, also screens on Sunday. After accidentally breaking a mirror, Linder's character faces a series of calamities.

See Tip Top at 8 p.m. March 22; La fille du 14 Juillet at 7:30 p.m. March 23; Populaire at 6 p.m. March 21 and 1 p.m. March 22; Amour et turbulences at 8:15 p.m. March 21 and 5:30 p.m. March 23; La grande boucle at 6 p.m. March 22 and 2 p.m. March 23; and Sept ans de malheur at 4 p.m. March 23. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit $10.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, A Coffin in Egypt and More

Categories: Top 5

Courtesy of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Belen Pereyra and Antonio Douthit in Kyle Abramam's Another Night
Marcus Jarrell Willis, a former Houstonian and now a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, was in awe of the famous company when he first saw it onstage. Willis was a student at the time, and the experience made a lasting impact. It inspired him to become a professional dancer -- one, as it happens, with the same company. "To be with the company now, performing the roles I first saw from the audience, it's been an amazing journey," he tells us.

Willis, in town for a two-day, three-show stint by the company starting Friday courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts, confirms the group will perform Ailey's legendary signature work Revelations. Also on the program is Bill T. Jones's D-Man in the Waters, Ronald K. Brown's Grace, Kyle Abraham's Another Night and Ohad Naharin's Minus 16.

See the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit $45 to $105.

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The Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: NobleMotion Unplugged, New Work by David A. Brown and More

Categories: Top 5

Photo by Lynn Lane
NobleMotion Dancers
NobleMotion Dance, led by husband-and-wife co-artistic directors Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble, is known for its innovative use of technology and frequent collaborations. The group sheds its multi-media tools for NobleMotion Unplugged which is an "acoustic" show, says Andy Noble. Unplugged runs on Friday and Saturday.

"Folks are used to seeing us with a substantial amount of technology or light design, and a lot of our work is really focused in collaboration," he tells us. "These things are our hallmarks, and that's what we've become known for. This time we wanted to show just straight-up, raw dancing, intimate, in-your-face and fun. Dionne and I have been working together for 15 years, and we came to technology later in our careers. At the root, our work has always been about storytelling, about choosing movement that showcases the dancers well and that conveys some kind of message. So even though we're not using a lot of the technology we usually use, we don't feel like we're a fish out of water."

On the program for this production is Harvest, a collaboration between NobleMotion and Musiqa, a music group. The two-year project is the first between the two groups and will result in an evening-length production in the spring of 2015. "We're taking a lot of time and slow-cooking it," Noble laughs. "We're revealing bits of it over the two years, but the whole work won't be seen for a couple of years yet."

See NobleMotion Unplugged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Barn (formerly Barnevelder Arts Center), 2201 Preston. For information, call 832‑627‑9663 or visit $20 to $25.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Macbeth, Nicolay Dance Works: Timeline, Ruined and More

Categories: Top 5

Courtesy of Main Street Theater/Prauge Shakespeare Company
Actor/director Guy Roberts in Macbeth
Even though Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's shortest plays, Main Street Theater will be putting on an 80-minute version with no intermission courtesy of visiting director and actor Guy Roberts in a co--production with the Prague Shakespeare Company. It's our pick for Friday. "It really streamlines the play and focuses on the story of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, so for example Lady Macduff is cut entirely. They're still killed, but you hear about it offstage," says Roberts, whose previous visits to Houston with Henry V and Richard III have been to great acclaim.

"Once the play starts, we hopefully get the audience on this whirlwind of the action because it's kind of what happens to Macbeth. The play begins and once those witches speak that prophecy, events just tumble forth almost seemingly out of control. Before we know what's happened, Lady Macbeth is dead and Macbeth is fighting for the crown."

And speaking of witches, yes, they get to say, "Double, double toil and trouble," and now there's nine of them instead of three. "The witches have a much larger role because they also double as the servants in the household, so they're always there listening kind of in the background," Roberts says. "Every actor is onstage the entire show until you die. Once you die, you get to leave the stage," Roberts says.

Roberts plays the title role, with Jessica Boone playing his Lady Macbeth. At three performances, actors David Wald and Bree Welch will play the leads. 7:30 p.m. February 27, March 3 and 6, 8 p.m. February 28, March 1, 7 and 8, and 3 p.m. March 2 and March 9. Alternative cast (Wald and Welch) 5 p.m. March 1 and 7:30 p.m. March 5 and 9. Through March 9. Main Street Theater, Rice Village, 2540 Times Boulevard. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit $20 to $39.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Heather Gordy and Vincent Fink Art Exhibit, Mardi Gras! Galveston and More

Categories: Top 5

Courtesy of Heather Gordy
Snake in the ... by Heather Gordy
It's hard to say which artist represents dreams and which represents realities at the exhibition "Of Dreams and Realities: Heather Gordy and Vincent Fink," our suggestion for Friday. "We're both into dreams," Gordy says. "Vincent is into lucid dreaming, and I'm interested in the feelings that dreams produce. He does a lot of surrealistic stuff, and I do more realistic work."

Gordyand Fink first met as art students at the Art Institute of Houston, then joined the same design firm at graduation. Fink eventually left to pursue individual goals (such as his .506 clothing designs), while Gordy remained. The pair has joined forces for other exhibits, a testament, Fink says, to the respect the two have for each other.

Gordy will exhibit ink and mixed-media works. "Most of them have to do with nature. That seems to be a theme, animals and a lot of flowers all tied together with the use of patterns and vivid colors." Fink will contribute neo-surrealistic works, including pieces based on "sacred geometry" (a signature for him).

See our 100 Creatives profile of Heather Gordy

See "Of Dreams and Realities: Heather Gordy and Vincent Fink" 6 to 9 p.m. February 21 and 28. East End Studio Gallery, 708 Telephone Road. For information, call 713-363-0054 or visit Free.

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The Top 5 Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: A Burlesque Valentine's, Bobby Lee and More

Categories: Top 5

Photo by dabfoto creative
Looking for sexy, sensual Valentine's Day fun for Friday? It doesn't get any sexier than VauLt Houston's 3rd Annual Valentine's Day Burlesque Show. Now in its third year, the show features aerial and classical burlesque with all the skin, dance moves and sass Houston has come to expect from its burlesque acts.

Performers include Lady Lush (who also doubles as the Dem Damn Dames costume designer), Tifa Tittlywinks (Tifa's previous performances include Kiki's Sordid Sideshow and the Texas Tease-a-thon) and Dem Damn Dames. This is sophisticated, adult entertainment with a flirty, fun attitude with two performances on the schedule.

See our story on the status of burlesque in Houston by Brittanie Shey.

See the Valentine's Day Burlesque Show at 7 and 9 p.m. on Friday. Gyrotonic, 1824 Spring. For information, call 713‑880‑8161 or visit $25.

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