John Biggers: Mother of Mankind (MAAME)
In 1949, iconic Houston artist John Biggers founded the art department at Texas Southern University, which he led for several decades. His powerful murals, paintings, and prints have inspired generations of Houston artists and activists, including Rick Lowe, who credits Biggers with the idea for creating Project Row Houses. Biggers died in 2001, but his legacy lives on thanks to shows like this major retrospective, organized by Redbud Gallery owner Gus Kopriva.
April 4–29. Free. Redbud Gallery, 303 E. 11th St. 713-862-2532. redbudgallery.com
Dance Salad Festival
Every year, Houston dance lovers mark their calendars for the Dance Salad Festival—three nights of curated performances by companies from around the world, many of them offering US premieres of their work. The roster this time features Australia’s Queensland Ballet, the Norwegian National Ballet, South Korea’s Bereishit Dance Company, Germany’s Semperoper Ballett, and many more. Oh, and don't miss the Choreographers' Forum on April 1 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
April 2–4. $20–50. Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 877-772-5425. dancesalad.org
Talib Kweli w/ Immortal Technique
Along with frequent collaborator Mos Def, Talib Kweli is the contemporary face of “conscious rap”—the hip-hop subgenre pioneered by politically outspoken groups like Public Enemy and characterized by a heightened awareness of social issues. No matter what he raps about, Kweli is widely respected as one of the most original lyricists in the game, with an unbeatable flow. Of course, talent doesn’t always equal superstardom; as Jay-Z once rapped ruefully, “If skills sold, truth be told / I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli.” With Immortal Technique, Chino XL, Niko Is, CF, and Hasan Salaam.
April 3 at 8. $22–27. Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel St. 713-225-5483. warehouselive.com
St. Matthew Passion
Bach’s 300-year-old St. Matthew Passion oratorio is widely considered among the greatest works of Western civilization, a towering musical achievement that tells the story of Christ’s crucifixion through rapturous music and spine-tingling choruses. Like all sacred music, the best place to hear the St. Matthew Passion is in a church—in this case, Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rice Village.
April 3 at 3. Free with reserved ticket. Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2523 Rice Blvd. 713-400-0514. bachsocietyhouston.org
All My Sons
Playwright Arthur Miller scored his first commercial success with this 1947 play about a successful businessman, Joe Keller, whose name is blackened after selling the government defective airplane engine parts during World War II. When the play opens, Keller is racked with guilt because one of those defective engines may have caused the presumed death of his son, an Air Force officer. A powerful story about the repercussions of war on a single family, Miller’s play remains as relevant as ever.
April 1–19. $26–86. Wortham Theatre, University of Houston, 4116 Elgin St. 713-220-5700. alleytheatre.org