Thursday, October 25, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 46


 
 









 
Pick of the week

The Apollo Theater in Harlem, former home of such famous acts as Josephine Baker, hosted the debut of the Dance Theatre of Harlem's Apollo Show in June 2001. The program comes to Houston this weekend courtesy of the Society for the Performing Arts.

Apollo Show is comprised of three sections -- "South African Suite," which features the African continent, "Dougla," which is set in the New World and
"Return," which takes place in Harlem.


Suzanne Tenner/Universal Pictures


Prot (Kevin Spacey) who claims to be from the distant planet K-Pax shares his view of the world with psychiatrist Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges).


"South African Suite" is choreographed by Arthur Mitchell, the Dance Theatre of Harlem's artistic director, in collaboration with South African ballet masters
Augustus Van Heerden and Laveen Naidu. The New York Times called this section "an implied African landscape full of felines on toe and warriors with invisible
spears."

"Dougla," conceived by Geoffrey Holder, is set in Trinidad at a wedding between two "Dougla" people of African and East Indian descent. And "Return," which is
described as "a mixture of street attitude and ballet," is set to music by Aretha Franklin, James Brown and other legends of the Apollo Theater.

Artistic Director Mitchell, who was born in New York City in 1934, became the first black male to become a permanent member of a major ballet company when
he joined the New York City Ballet in 1955. His career has been illustrious, including a stint as Principal Dancer at the NYCB, Broadway performances and film
appearances.

In 1966, Mitchell was invited to organize the American Negro Dance Company; in 1967, he founded the National Ballet Company of Brazil at the request of the
United States International Association.

After the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Mitchell became inspired to provide children, particularly those from Harlem, with a chance to study
dance; with assistance from Mrs. Alva B. Gimbel and the Ford Foundation, he and his ballet instructor Karel Shook founded the Dance Theatre of Harlem the
next year.

Since then, the Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multi-cultural institution which performs national tours to major arts centers annually and has a
repertoire of 125 works.

Dance Theatre of Harlem's Apollo Show will be performed at Jones Hall in Houston this Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. Performances will take place at
Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (713) 223-8301.

Friday

Alejandro Escovedo has a way with words.

Escovedo's two brothers, Pete and Coke, were percussionists for Santana, his father played in mariachi bands during the 1940s and his niece, Sheila E., is a
solo artist who used to be a percussionist for Prince. This musical legacy is apparent in Escovedo's work, but his lyrical skill is what's immediately absorbing.

It's not without reason that the Austin-based Escovedo has been compared to such luminaries as Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt, both of whom are
known for the poetry of their work.

On his latest release, A Man Under the Influence, this shines through in, for example, the sad ballad "Rosalie" ("Let the world spin you closer to me/ Take a
chance on us, Rosalie"), which is taken from a play Escovedo authored, titled By the Hand of the Father.

But Escovedo has plenty of experience in punk, as well. As a member of legendary San Francisco punk band The Nuns, Escovedo opened for the Sex Pistols
during their notorious final show at Winterland. After The Nuns, Escovedo was a member of a Texas country-punk band called Rank and File.

In 1998, the alt-country magazine No Depression named Escovedo its "Artist of the Decade." It's not hard to see why. His captivating, dark voice, sawed-off
guitar genius and blend of ballads and anger make him one of the most unique artists in his, or any, genre.

Escovedo performs 11:30 p.m. on Friday at Continental Club (3700 Main St.).

Saturday

If you ever find yourself at the Continental Club in Austin on a Tuesday night, chances are the place will be packed. For years, alto songstress Toni Price --
whose weekly at the Continental routinely sells out -- has been known as one of Austin's greatest female vocalists.

The Austin American-Statesman described Price's voice as "alternately sweet and edgy, a compelling combination of rawness and refinement." The Village
Voice loves her, too: "Just when she seems most willing and submissive, notes trailing off into a wistful nothingness, the anger curls over the edges of her
lonely road of a voice," Robert Christgau wrote.

Price can belt out an eclectic mix of songs with aplomb; her range and delivery mark her as a gripping soul singer, reminiscent of Aretha Franklin and, in some
ways, Patsy Cline.

Price made her debut when she was 10 at a Nashville talent show, where she sang "One Tin Soldier." She moved to Austin in 1989, at which time she decided to
get a tattoo (a red heart on her arm) in homage to one of her musical heroes, Keith Richards.

"The thing about Keith," she says, "is what he represented to me as rock and roll, and realness, and that he was a gentleman about the blues, and where he
learned stuff. Everything I've ever read about him says he was eloquent."

Price's first solo release, '93's Swim Away, and '95's Hey garnered good reviews, but it wasn't until Sol Power in '97 and Low Down and Up in '99 that she
reached a wider audience, prompting Blues Access magazine's statement that "Price is a terrific singer who torches whatever she touches."

Price performs with Wanda Jackson at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night at the Continental Club, 3700 Main St. For more information, call (713) 529-9899.

Sunday

Thirteen animated ghostly dogs from outer space. Sound intriguing? That might be the feeling you get after viewing this weekend's newest movie releases.

Kevin Spacey (American Beauty) hits the big screen with the highly anticipated K-Pax. Spacey plays prot, a mental patient who claims to be from a faraway
planet. His psychiatrist, played by Jeff Bridges (The Contender), tries to help him.

Just in time for Halloween, 13 Ghosts aims to thrill viewers with the story of a man and his daughter who inhabit a haunted mansion. The film stars Tony
Shalhoub (Spy Kids) and American Pie's Shannon Elizabeth.

Bones follows Jimmy Bones' resurrection as a ghost to seek out those who killed him and clean up his neighborhood. The horror film stars rapper Snoop Dogg
and Pam Grier (Ghosts of Mars). This weekend's animation, Waking Life, tracks a young man through a series of encounters with slackers, scientists,
philosophers and other characters, a series which may or may not be part of a dream.

In Donnie Darko, Donnie (played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Bubble Boy), is a disturbed adolescent from a semi-functional upper-middle-class family. After escaping
death because he hears the voice of a bunny, Donnie is led by the bunny to create havoc that is both destructive and creative. The movie also stars Drew
Barrymore.
 
 
 
 
 

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