Houston Shakespeare Festival
Legendary producer Joseph Papp founded the original Shakespeare in the Park festival in New York’s Central Park in the 1950s. The idea soon spread to cities across the country, with the University of Houston launching the free Houston Shakespeare Festival in 1975 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. As usual, this year’s festival pairs a comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and a drama, Henry IV, Part I, which introduces the Bard’s cowardly knight Falstaff.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Aug 1 & 3 at 8:30.
Henry IV, Part I. Aug 2 at 8:30
Free tickets available at box office between 10:30 & 1 on the day of performance. Open seating on the hill. Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr. 281-373-3386. houstonfestivalscompany.com/hsf
African American Treasures From The Kinsey Collection
Spanning 400 years of history, this traveling private collection of African American artifacts includes slave shackles, correspondence between Malcolm X and his biographer Alex Haley (see right), a first edition of Phillis Wheatley’s 1773 book of poems, and an original 1857 printing of the Supreme Court’s notorious Dred Scott decision, which stoked abolitionist anger and helped precipitate the Civil War.
Aug 2–Oct 26. Free. Houston Museum of African American Culture, 4807 Caroline St. 713-526-1015. hmaac.org
Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869–1948
As part of the run-up to its major fall exhibition Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence, which opens Oct. 2, the Menil Collection is hosting a free outdoor screening of this remarkable documentary, which was assembled in 1968 from rare news footage of the great Indian leader. The screening will take place on the Menil grounds; limited seating will be available, but guests are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics.
Aug 1 at 8:30. Free. The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St. 713-525-9400. menil.org
Festival of (In)Appropriation
This idiosyncratic program of 14 recent short films at small, independent movie house 14 Pews includes a musical mash-up video about a gay man living in a Japanese-American WWII internment camp; a reimagining of Orson Welles’s famous hall of mirrors sequence from The Lady From Shanghai; a film inspired by Freud’s essay “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”; and many more, all featuring DJ-style video mixing.
Aug 2 at 7. $11. 14 Pews, 800 Aurora St. 14pews.org
Romantic Posters of the Brezhnev Era
As a complement to their ongoing exhibition Posters of the Gorbachev Era, which showcases the work of 1980s Soviet propaganda artists, the Russian Cultural Center is also staging this one-woman show by Houston-based artist Valentina Kisseleva. Born in Moscow and educated at the Belarus Art Academy in the mid-1970s, Kisseleva is an accomplished painter—the Russian Cultural Center hosted her show Midsummer Dream this spring—although she began her career in the Soviet Union by designing visually striking propaganda posters, a selection of which are on display in this fascinating exhibition.
Aug 1–31. Russian Cultural Center, 2337 Bissonnet St. 713-395-3301