Jazz on Film
It's difficult to overstate the importance of jazz in film history. After all, the first major talkie, The Jazz Singer, infamously starring Al Jolson as an aspiring blackface minstrel, featured music by several of the great Tin Pan Alley composers. The second annual Jazz on Film series includes 16 films and runs for three weekends this month at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “I’m particularly excited about A Man Called Adam,” said the festival's curator, Peter Lucas. The 1966 drama stars Sammy Davis Jr. as a volatile trumpeter in decline. “Very few people know this film, and we were luckily able to track down a film print”—perhaps the only one in existence, Lucas speculated. The film series runs through June 22. See our full story here.
A Man Called Adam. June 14 at 7
Jazz Animation from the Hubley Studio. June 15 at 5
$9; students & seniors $7. Brown Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St. 713-639-7515. mfah.org/films.
Juneteenth Emancipation Celebration
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston with 2,000 federal troops and issued General Order No. 3, freeing all Texas slaves. (Although Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier, it was impossible to enforce until the end of the Civil War.) Every year since then, African Americans in Texas have celebrated the date with parades, street fairs, and live music. Although the holiday has now spread across the country, there are few better places to celebrate it than Houston’s Emancipation Park, founded by freed slaves in 1872.
June 14 11–8; parade begins at 4 at the corner of Ennis St. and Wheeler St. Emancipation Park, 3018 Dowling St. 713-443-9774
The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience
Although he's capable of writing devastatingly sharp pop songs, singer / songwriter / pianist Ben Folds's ambitions have always exceeded the genre's limitations. Now he's written his first piano concerto, which he'll perform with the Houston Symphony along with a suite of his most popular songs. If past tour dates are any indication, expect some audience participation and on-the-fly improvisation.
June 14 at 7:30. $25–121. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St. 713-224-7575. houstonsymphony.org
Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris
Everyone knows Eugène Atget’s sepia-toned photographs of fin-de-siècle Parisian boulevards. But what did the city look like before the boulevards, which were built in the mid-nineteenth century by Napoleon III’s handpicked engineer Baron Haussmann? Charles Marville, the city’s official photographer in the early days of the medium—the daguerreotype was invented in 1839—carefully documented the narrow medieval streets and tightly packed buildings that were destroyed to make way for the modern Paris we know today. Also included are Marville’s photographs of French and German landscapes.
June 15–Sept 14. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 1001 Bissonnet St. 713-639-7300. mfah.org
Hands on a Hardbody
This musical, which had a brief Broadway run last year, features music by Amanda Green and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, and is based on a 1997 documentary of the same name, about 24 contestants competing to win a pickup truck in Longview, Texas—the last one to take their hand off the truck wins it. The musical whittles the contestants down to 10 and gives them all hard-luck backstories, which fuel their relentless drive to be the last man
(or woman) standing.
June 12–22. $24–39. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. 713-558-8887. tutsunderground.com