November—People, Places, Events, Attractions
Checked anything off your life list lately? No, we don’t mean organizing your garage, putting your kids through college, or writing your will. We’re talking birding: Ever made note of a warbler, a hawk, or an egret? Texas is home to more than six hundred species of winged wonders, and this month you can start on your avian checklist November 9—13 at the RIO GRANDE VALLEY BIRDING FESTIVAL, in Harlingen, where experts will guide you to the best spots for observing red-crowned parrots, green jays, and great kiskadees. Expand your sightings with the state’s spectacular fall migrations: From the Hawk Observation Tower at the BENTSEN STATE PARK—WORLD BIRDING CENTER HEADQUARTERS, in Mission, you’ll have until November 15 to watch as broad-winged hawks, Swainson’s hawks, and turkey vultures swoop into the Rio Grande Valley; then, on November 27, make the twenty-mile trek along Matagorda Island on the WHOOPING CRANE BUS TOUR for a glimpse of the season’s newest winter Texans. You’ll need binoculars, a good guide book, keen eyesight—and maybe a little patience. JESSICA NORMAN DUPUY
The month in dance.
Run of de Mille
Masterpieces get lost and found all the time (recall those four Rembrandts rediscovered this fall), but it’s not often that you witness the recovery firsthand. Now you can score a front-row seat, literally: At its Fall Dance Concert, Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts reintroduces The Four Marys, a seminal but nearly forgotten ballet by the revolutionary choreographer Agnes de Mille (of Oklahoma! and Carousel fame). A story of four female slaves in the antebellum South, the piece made a splash in 1965 at the height of the civil rights movement, but soon after began to collect dust, its casting requirement of four strong black female dancers too difficult for many companies to meet. This year SMU’s dance division, which is quickly becoming known for its preservation of important dance works (above, last year’s restaging of Martha Graham’s Panorama), brings The Four Marys back to life with the recollection powers of original cast member Glory Van Scott and de Mille’s répétiteur, or principal dancer, Gemze de Lappe. “We had only four films from the sixties and seventies to go on, three of which were silent and two of which were printed backward,” explains rehearsal director Shelley Berg. “So we pieced the work together with the choreographic memory of those who knew it well.” (November 3—6 and 10—13 in Dallas.) KATHARYN RODEMANN
(For directions and more information, see Dallas, Music/Dance).
Modern Dance: A Primer
Not wise to the ways of choreographed flailings? Ease your way into the genre with Minus One, a compendium of seven independent dance works coming to Houston’s Wortham Theater Center November 11 and 12.
The Choreographer: Israeli-born Ohad Naharin trained with modern-dance goddess Martha Graham and is now with the Batsheva Dance Company, based in Tel Aviv. Known for his political outspokenness (he has publicly criticized Israel’s handling of Palestinians), his works are provocative and decidedly nonconformist.
The Company: A prestigious neighbor to our north, the 33-member Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal is internationally acclaimed but rarely tours the U.S. (Read: The Bayou City visit is a big deal.)
What You’ll See: Don’t be surprised if the show begins before you’re seated: A lone dancer starts the opening piece before the lights go down. The full cast joins him, and they all eventually strip down to their skivvies (a creative license that had Orthodox Jewish leaders enraged after the work’s 1998 debut). Other clues that you’re not watching a stoic ballet: recorded voice-overs by the dancers, concerted lip synching, lots of black body paint, wrestling to a Vivaldi aria, and a pitchfork-toting chanteuse on stilts. For the grand finale, audience members are pulled onto the stage to dance to an electronic remix of “Que Sera, Sera.” Unitards optional. JORDAN BREAL
(For directions and more information, see Houston, Music/Dance).
The musical Movin’ Out, which hits Austin November 1—6 and San Antonio November 8—13, marries the dance genius of choreographer Twyla Tharp and the catchy music of pop icon Billy Joel. Holly Cruikshank, who performs the lead role of Brenda, dishes on the unconventional production.
So Movin’ Out isn’t quite your typical Broadway show. Twyla conceived the whole thing from Billy’s song “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” and the story is told only through dance and lyrics. It takes place in the sixties and seventies, through the Vietnam War, and it’s about these five friends and their journey—with love, depression, women’s rights—through those decades. The band is onstage with us, so it’s like a rock concert.
What styles of dance? We all have a strong ballet technique, but you’re not going to see guys in tights. There’s every style. The choreography is inventive; it tells the story in a more pedestrian way while also combining the craziest lifts and jumps and turns.
Do you have a favorite number? There’s a passionate duet between me and the dancer David Gomez’s character, Tony, to the most beautiful song, “Shameless.” Our characters are rediscovering each other after Vietnam. It’s, like, seven minutes long.
What’s it like working with Twyla? Oh, God—it’s the most intimidating thing ever and the most fulfilling. She’s in her sixties and probably, like, five-two, and she gets up and does yoga, goes to the gym, rehearses dance steps. She’s always on the go. She’s a legend. RENA GARCIA
A quickie guide to West Village, Dallas
Rich meets hip at 3699 McKinney Avenue.
1 — Part home-decor store, part art space, LEGACY TRADING CO. displays its eclectic wares—Raj coffee tables, Sanskrit matchbox covers, bawdy T-shirts, Jonathan Adler accessories—with sass (sale signs implore you to “screw gas prices” and spend happily). Thanks to the owners’ world travels, redecorating happens continually: Look for an animal-print motif this month. 214-953-2222.
2 — One visit