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The Arts & Happenings Sep 2013

The comical, roller skating musical Xanadu takes the stage at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

The comical, roller skating musical Xanadu takes the stage at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Claire McAdams


Theatre Under The Stars, Sept. 13 – 14

Theatre Under The Stars and The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre present the Houston premiere of Xanadu. The comical, roller skating musical follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek muse Kira who descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., in 1980 on a quest to inspire struggling artist Sonny to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time — the first roller disco. Xanadu rolls onto the Zilkha Hall stage at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts on Sept. 13-14. For more information, visit tuts.com.


Dancer Mireille Hassenboehler in The Merry Widow.

Dancer Mireille Hassenboehler in The Merry Widow. Photo by Amitava Sarkar


Houston Ballet, Sept. 19 – 29

Houston Ballet revives Ronald Hynd’s deliciously comic love story, The Merry Widow, which features spectacular scenery and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno. Set in turn of the century Paris, this production has it all: lilting waltzes by Franz Lehár; saucy can-can girls, glamour and champagne; and a wonderful love story featuring an unlikely couple separated in their youth, who rekindle their lost romance. For tickets to the performance at Brown Theater, visit houstonballet.org.


Koloman Moser, Wardrobe from the Bedroom of the Eisler von Terramare Apartment, 1902-03, execution: J. W. Müller, probably Vienna; maple (formerly stained gray), marquetry of different woods, mother-of-pearl and ivory inlay.

Koloman Moser, Wardrobe from the Bedroom of the Eisler von Terramare Apartment, 1902-03, execution: J. W. Müller, probably Vienna; maple (formerly stained gray), marquetry of different woods, mother-of-pearl and ivory inlay. photo – © Ernst Ploil, Vienna


The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Beginning Sept. 29

The MFAH presents the first museum retrospective in the United States devoted to Austrian artist and designer Koloman Moser. Instrumental in the modern-design revolution that swept Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, Moser (1868-1918) worked across varied types of media, in both two and three dimensions. His art is often characterized by precise geometric styles and frequently uses a black-and-white grid pattern.

Koloman Moser: Designing Modern Vienna 1897-1907 surveys the sum of Moser’s decorative-arts career through more than 200 objects, from jewelry, metalwork, glass, and ceramics to furniture, textiles, prints and designs for architectural interiors. The exhibition comes to Houston following its premiere at the Neue Galerie in New York City. This exhibition is on view through Jan. 12. Visit mfah.org for information.



Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 6 – 7

NobleMotion Dance, known for its physically daring and visually stunning work, presents “Collide: An Evening of Collaborations” featuring a live performance by Austin post-rock band My Education, light and technology installations from the renowned Jeremy Choate and David J Deveau, and guest performances by some of Houston’s best contemporary dancers. NobleMotion consistently receives critical acclaim for their “extraordinary athleticism” and “cutting edge” programming and is recognized as one of Houston’s “A-list” Dance companies. For tickets, visit thehobbycenter.org.



The Menil Collection, Beginning Sept.. 13

A draftsman, painter and photographer,  Wols (1913-1951) was one of the most ingenious and influential — if commercially unsuccessful — artists to emerge in postwar Europe. Along with Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Soulages, and Georges Mathieu, Wols was a leading figure in Tachisme, a movement in painting considered to be the European equivalent of American Abstract Expressionism. Named for the French word tache, meaning stain, Tachisme — an outgrowth of the larger Art Informel, or “art without form” movement — cultivated an autonomist style emphasizing free lines and forms drawn from the artist’s psyche.

In his intimately scaled drawings and paintings, Wols did not start with preconceived compositions. Instead, his unconscious, in the Surrealist and existentialist senses of the word, shaped his images, which began with a few marks, then carefully developed highly complex, self-contained visual universes. Early drawings and watercolors include fantastical animals, figures, sailing ships, and cityscapes. Later paintings are almost entirely abstract, using heavy impasto and tentacle-like drips to suggest powerful emanations that suggest otherworldly flowers or atomic explosions. This exhibition will be on view Sept. 13-Jan. 12, 2014. For information, visit menil.org.



Houston Friends of Music, Sept. 17

With their “explosive vigor and finesse” (The New York Times), the Austin-based Miró Quartet is widely recognized as one of the country’s top chamber groups. Captivating audiences with their fresh perspective and creative approach, the Quartet excels at new interpretations of the classics, as well as showcasing stirring contemporary pieces. The evening’s program features the group at its best. The Stude Concert Hall, Shepherd School of Music performances features Daniel Ching, violin; William Fedkenheuer, violin; John Largess, viola; and Joshua Gindele, cello. For tickets, visit houstonfriendsofmusic.org.



Society for the Performing Arts, Sept. 20

Society for the Performing Arts welcomes emerging choreographer Jessica Lang. With stunning visuals including remarkable sets and costumes, her company, Jessica Lang Dance, is known for thrilling audiences with repertoire ranging from minimal and simplistic to rich and dense. JLD produces works associated with music, opera, mixed media compositions and public art installations, while delivering a beautiful blend of classical and contemporary styles.

Hailed as “a master of visual composition” by Dance Magazine, Lang transforms classical ballet into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging, contemporary works. JLD was founded in 2011. Lang was recently chosen to commission a new work for her company by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra set to John Adams’ Violin Concerto. For tickets to the one-night-only performance, visit spahouston.org.



Alley Theatre , September 25,- October 20

The Pulitzer Prize-winning classic You Can’t Take it With You by the team of Kaufman and Hart (The Man Who Came to Dinner, 2009) is perhaps the greatest American comedy ever written. Alice Sycamore must introduce her fiancé’s straight-laced mother and father to her rather more eccentric family. When the wildly different families meet, the worlds of the wealthy, uptight Kirbys and the off-kilter Sycamores collide. At first the Sycamores seem mad, but it is not long before we realize that if they are mad, the rest of the world is madder. The production features the Alley Resident Company of Actors. For tickets, visit alleytheatre.org.



Houston Symphony,  Beginning Sept. 26

Relish a great masterpiece of music that Beethoven himself called “one of the happiest products of my poor talents.” The Seventh Symphony’s Allegretto movement became famous from the very start, when the public demanded an encore at its first performance. Also on the program is Rachmaninoff’s The Bells, inspired by an Edgar Allen Poe poem. Hear the orchestra and chorus create tonal colors that suggest the sounds of bells, from the merriment of silver bells to the heart-pounding excitement of alarm bells. Matthew Halls conducts the Sept. 26-29 performances at Jones Hall. For information, visit houstonsymphony.org.



The Menil Collection, Beginning Sept. 27

The conceptual core of Tuymans’ work is rooted in a fundamental skepticism about representation and the originality of painting. Perhaps better than any, the genre of portraiture allows Tuymans to explore the balance all painting strikes between revealing and concealing. Nice. Luc Tuymans will present approximately 30 paintings by the artist from his earliest mature work G. Dam, 1978 to canvases finished as recently as 2011.

While most are portraits in the conventional sense, others, such as Bloodstains, 1993, and Fingers, 1995, illustrate the artist’s intentionally elliptical approach to representation. Tuymans’ works will be placed in dialogue with a selection of portraits from the Menil Collection’s permanent holdings. Exploiting the diversity of the collection, the exhibition will include works from ancient, African, and Native American cultures, alongside modern and contemporary examples of portraiture. This exhibit will be on view Sept. 27-Jan. 5. For more information, visit menil.org.



Da Camera of Houston, Sept. 27

Youthful works or late style? Mozart and Schubert produced remarkable compositions throughout their too-short lives — works of extraordinary maturity, humanity and depth of feeling. Mozart’s dramatic piano quartet and Schubert’s serenely lyrical octet, composed by a 29-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus and a 27-year-old Franz, are among of the greatest masterpieces of the chamber music repertoire, expressing the range of human emotions with an eloquence that would be astounding at any age.

A top-notch ensemble of Houston-based performers and renowned visiting artists kick off the season in grand style with Richie Hawley, clarinet; Benjamin Kamins, bassoon; David Jolley, horn; Laurie Smukler, violin; Maureen Nelson, violin; James Dunham, viola; Darrett Adkins, cello; Timothy Pitts, double bass; and Sarah Rothenberg, piano. For more information about the Cullen Theater performance, visit dacamera.com.



Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Through Oct. 13

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work explores the psychological connections of intergenerational relationships within her family and community through photographs and videos that blur the line between self-portraiture and social documentary. Frazier’s work is informed by late 19th- and early 20th-century modes of representation in documentary practice with an emphasis on postmodern conditions, class, and capitalism.

For the past nine years, Frazier has collaborated with family members to produce a series of images that deal directly and critically with issues of self-representation, access to health care, and the social, economic and environmental decline of the town of Braddock, a working-class suburb of Pittsburgh where the artist was born and raised. The series of prints Campaign for Braddock Hospital (Save Our Community Hospital) (2011) is a record of the demolition of the Braddock U.P.M.C. Hospital and of the voices of residents left to seek alternatives to the care they received there. This exhibition will feature the precise black and white photographic images for which the artist is well known, as well as a newer series of video works and prints in which Frazier investigates issues of propaganda, politics and individual autonomy. This exhibition is on view through Oct. 13. For more information, visit camh.org.

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