Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Alonzo King LINES Ballet, "The Waiting Room," Houston Art Car Parade and More

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Photo by R.J. Muna
Alonzo King LINES Ballet company member Michael Montgomery in Resin
The San Francisco-based Alonzo King LINES Ballet makes its Houston debut on Friday with two works that epitomize King's interest in creating movement that explores the real and the tangible, as does much of the company's work. "The term LINES alludes to all that is visible in the phenomenal world," King says via press materials. "There is nothing that is made or formed without line. Straight and circle encompass all that we see. Whatever can be seen is formed by line."

The program opens with 2011's Resin, a dance that alternates between duet and quartet work. The movement is seamless, the bodies of the dancers more liquid than solid mass, just like the trancelike Sephardic music it is set to. An exciting feature is King's suggestion of genderless pas de deux work, as men partner men and women partner women. The real showcase becomes the human body, dressed in minimal garments, and all of its beautiful permutations.

Then there's the 2009 Scheherazade, a reimagining of One Thousand and One Nights and the 1888 music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The original music is an unmistakably Russian creation with digressions into Eastern motifs, but King uses a score that has been reworked by Zakir Hussain. Hussain, a master of the tabla, brings new life to Rimsky-Korsakov's music with the addition of traditional Persian instrumentation. Both pieces place specific importance on the real and the tangible, in the vein of much of the company's work.

See the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Houston debut at 8 p.m. Friday. Wortham Center's Cullen Theater, 500 Texas. For information, call 713‑227‑4772 or visit $23 to $58.

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Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Latin Wave, Pedrito Martinez, MenilFest and More

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Samuel Lange in Mariana Rondón's Pelo malo (Bad Hair)
Nine spectacular films make up the 9th Annual Latin Wave: Films from Latin America festival. Among our favorites is Carlos Federico Rossini's El alcalde (The Mayor), a revealing look at Mauricio Fernández Garza, the millionaire mayor of San Pedro Garza Garcia in Mexico (see the film trailer below). El alcalde screens on Friday.

Rossini will be on hand to discuss Fernandez's controversial anti-crime policies for the city (basically, he fights the violence on the streets with bigger, better violence). Fernandez's tactics have worked. Street violence has, in fact, been radically reduced in the area. Oh, and the head of his security and several other key members of his team have been murdered.

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Five Best Things to Do in Houston This Weekend: Dominic Walsh's New Film, The Walking Dead Escape Tour and More

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Gabriella Nissen Photography
Choreographer Dominic Walsh (far right) oversees the filming of a scene in Malta Kano, TX
Houston choreographer Dominic Walsh, a 2011 Houston Press 100 Creatives, makes his first foray into dance for film with Malta Kano, TX, which receives its premiere screening on Friday at the Asia Society Texas Center. Welsh, who co-conceived the project with frequent collaborator Belgian artist Frédérique de Montblanche, couldn't completely make the break from having a live audience for the project. The screening at Asia Society Texas Center is followed by a live performance by Sakal and Luciano that will be filmed and added to the final version of the project.

Gabriella Nissen Photography
Domenico Luciano, Hana Sakal and Dominic Walsh
The narrative film reunites Japanese ballerina Hana Sakal and Italian dancer Domenico Luciano, last seen together in Walsh's 2012's Uzume.

French director of photography Romain Ferrand and Belgian composer Loup Mormont also collaborated on the project. ("I'm the token American in the bunch," Walsh jokes.) The storyline was inspired by the novel The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami and follows a man who is in transition.

See the premiere of Malta Kano, TX at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. 1370 Southmore. For information, call 713-496-9901 or visit $25.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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