Best Virtual Bets: LED Lights, Quarantined Actors, and Sensitive Guys

This week, our socially distant and socially responsible suggestions include classical masterworks, virtual theater performances, and art films. Below, you’ll find enough to keep you happily indoors for another week.

Starting Friday, August 14, second chances abound when DACAMERA continues its Home Delivery series with the release of a 2016 recital with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt. The program includes works from Bartok, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, and the release will include a pre-concert discussion between Tetzlaff, Vogt, and DACAMERA artistic director Sarah Rothenberg. The performance and conversation will be available on the DACAMERA website, where you can also find prior releases, including performances, commentary, artist conversations, and essays from Rothenberg, in the Home Delivery archive.

Over at Catastrophic Theatre, the second episode of Tamarie Cooper’s 2020: Quarantine Edition! will drop this Friday, August 14. As a reminder, Cooper’s three-part online series is scheduled to run six weeks, with new episodes dropping every other week. If you’ve already got a ticket, you’ll get an email with a link to access the next episode. If not, what are you waiting for? Get your ticket now; one ticket gets you access to the first show, the second, and the third which will be released on August 28. Ticket price, you ask? It’s pay-what-you-can, as it always is over at Catastrophic.

If you’ve visited Rice University, you’ve probably noticed that they love LED light master Leo Villareal. His immersive installation, Particle Chamber, was featured inside the Moody Center for the Arts back in 2018, and his Radiant Pathway installation adorns the school’s BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) Café and Lounge. On Wednesday, August 19, at 2 p.m. the Moody’s summer film series, which highlights three of the artists in the school’s Public Art collection, continues with director Jeremy Ambers’ 2014 Impossible Light, about that time Villareal used 25,000 LED lights to turn San Francisco’s Bay Bridge into the world’s biggest LED light sculpture. The film will be available through August 26 on the Moody’s YouTube page. And if you’re impressed – and why wouldn’t you be – you can join in on an Instagram Live Q&A the following day, August 20, at 2 p.m. when Ambers talks to Ylinka Barotto, Moody Center for the Arts Associate Curator, about Villareal and the film.

Virtual programming for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston exhibit “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” continues this Saturday, August 15, at 3 p.m. with its final online panel, Black Cultural Organizations in Houston. The discussion about the city’s Black arts-and-culture scene will be moderated by the Houston Museum of African American Culture’s John Guess and feature panelists including Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen Morris, Urban Souls Dance Company Artistic Director Harrison Guy, and artist Vicki Meek (whose work you can explore online here). If you’ve missed any of the previous panels, they’re available on Vimeo (links here). And after catching up on those, you’ll also want to check out the final film of the “Soul of a Nation” film series, Losing Ground. The film, along with the six other films of the series, will only be available through August 30.

Stages takes to ZOOM with MJ Kaufman’s Sensitive Guys, opening on August 15.EXPAND

Stages takes to ZOOM with MJ Kaufman’s Sensitive Guys, opening on August 15.

Screen shot courtesy of Stages

Bright spots continue to emerge despite the past few months of postponements and cancellations, and this one is over at Stages, where their originally planned production of MJ Kaufman’s Sensitive Guys was just one week away from opening when COVID-19 forced a shutdown. Instead, the Leslie Swackhamer-directed show, about two groups at a fictitious college – one a Men’s Peer Education group and the other a Women’s Survivor Support group – and what happens when an allegation is made against one of those “sensitive guys,” pivoted to ZOOM. Five women make up the cast, playing across genders, in the 90-minute-long, intermission-less captured performance, which will open online and on-demand on YouTube on August 15 along with a “making of” documentary. Sensitive Guys will run through August 23, and though the streaming performance is free, you must register here to receive access.

While we can appreciate the efforts of Disney+, their release of the #Hamilfilm this summer didn’t completely erase the disappointment of knowing the musical juggernaut wouldn’t be swinging by the Bayou City this year. If you’re one of the disappointed masses, have we got a heck of a consolation prize for you: On Saturday, August 15, at 7 p.m. the original George Washington himself, Christopher Jackson, will take to New World Stages in New York City for Christopher Jackson: Live From the West Side. The Hamilton star (with a Drama Desk Award, an Emmy, and a Grammy in his back pocket), will regale the digital audience with stories, take some real-time questions, and treat everyone’s ears with a mix of show tunes, pop songs, and even some originals during the one-night-only concert. The $40 family pass gets you the livestream and 72 hours of on-demand access, and proceeds from the show will go to a selection of worthy nonprofits, including our very own Theater Under the Stars. And the best part of watching from your couch? No one around to shush you if you want to sing along.

If you’re a fan of Houston theater and the great performers who comprise the city’s talent pool (it’s an embarrassment of riches), and you’re not watching Actors Quarantine Corner, then what are you doing with your life? Every Monday night, three of those great performers – Kendrick “Kayb” Brown, Brandon J. Morgan, and Joseph “Joe “P” Palmore – get together and do monologues you know and original works you should, tell all kinds of stories, and talk about just about anything, from blockbuster films to the current movement for racial justice. This past Monday, they kicked off a four-part “State of the Theatre” series with a wellness check with local theaters. Representatives from the Alley Theatre, 4th Wall Theatre Company, Catastrophic Theatre, Rec Room, Ensemble Theatre and Stages joined the show to take stock of where the community is and how it got there. Theater folk, you’re definitely going to want to join them on this deep dive into the local theater community on Monday, August 17, and while you’re at it, catch up on what you missed on Facebook.

On August 19, DiverseWorks will look back at Jefferson Pinder’s 2019 site-specific piece inspired by the 1917 Camp Logan Uprising during Fire and Movement Revisited, pictured here.EXPAND

On August 19, DiverseWorks will look back at Jefferson Pinder’s 2019 site-specific piece inspired by the 1917 Camp Logan Uprising during Fire and Movement Revisited, pictured here.

Photo by Dabfoto Creative/David A. Brown

In 1917, African American soldiers, members of the 3rd Battalion of the 24th United States Infantry, mutinied against the continuous abuse they experienced at the hands of Houston citizens, white soldiers and especially the police. Last year, Chicago-based artist Jefferson Pinder and 13 fellow artists recreated the event in Fire and Movement, a public performance piece commissioned by DiverseWorks. In it, the group retraced the four-mile route through the streets before concluding the work at the African American Library at the Gregory School. With the 103rd anniversary of the Camp Logan Uprising on August 23 in mind, DiverseWorks will revisit the piece and welcome back Pinder, who will join a group of Houston artists, including Vinod Hopson, Mekeva McNeil, Mich S, and Anthony Suber, in conversation during Fire and Movement Revisited on August 19 at 6:30 p.m. The free event will be streamed live (but registration is required), and a recording of the event will be released on the actual anniversary on August 23.

In unsurprising but sad news, 4th Wall Theatre Company postponed the opening of their 10th anniversary season earlier this week. Though they are looking to January 2021 as a tentative restart date, fans of the company, and Houston theater in general, can still enjoy their online interview series, Beyond the 4th Wall. On Wednesday, August 19, at 8 p.m. 4th Wall’s Co-Artistic Directors Kim Tobin-Lehl and Philip Lehl will virtually host Rebecca Greene Udden, the artistic director of Main Street Theater. You can register to join the live conversation on Zoom here, or you can check in on 4th Wall’s YouTube or Facebook page on Thursday when the recorded video premieres. And while you’re waiting, you can always check out their previous interviews, including recent conversations with the Alley’s Rob Melrose and Ensemble Theatre’s Eileen Morris.


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