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.
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
"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
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
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)
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.).
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
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.
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
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