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Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts kicks off CounterCurrent

Interdisciplinary arts center launches citywide contemporary performance art festival April 9 -13

Prepare for the CounterCurrent takeover.

A dozen contemporary and collaborative performances, installations and experiences will happen as part of the CounterCurrent 2014 Festival April 9 – 13 at venues throughout Houston including galleries, outdoor sites and nontraditional spaces.

This inaugural multi-arts festival encompasses works that blend theatre, dance, music, visual arts, film and literature.

"This festival is all about collaboration and will transform Houston into a hotbed of creative activity," said Karen Farber, executive director of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. "It is my hope to create a groundbreaking event in the same genre of the first-class arts festivals around the world, from Europe to Mexico City; New York to Portland."

Festival themes include language experimentation, transit and transportation, and the collisions between natural and unnatural environments.

CounterCurrent will foreground Houston’s many communities by offering Spanish-speaking works, as well as projects by Chinese-American artists, Latino artists and practitioners from many backgrounds and perspectives.

Fresh new works by University of Houston faculty and students will also be included in the festival, and late night events will be programmed to celebrate the festival’s incredible offerings.

Festival passes are available free of charge here. (

Highlights of the lineup include:

  • Jonah Bokaer "ECLIPSE." Bokaer, an accomplished New York choreographer and exquisite modern dancer, partners with Anthony McCall, the British-born avant-garde artist specializing in cinema/projected film, to create a dance/installation that appears as a square of pure light and movement, with an audio-visual time score.
  • Byron Au Yong, "Piano Concerto Houston." Commissioned by the Mitchell Center, this installation draws together a diverse group of 11 local pianists, Seattle-based composer Au Yong and visual artist collaborator Susie Lee to create a virtual piano ensemble to be viewed in an exhibition space.
  • Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, "El Rumor." Presented in collaboration with MECA, this Mexico City-based theatre company has concocted a bold documentary play that reignites the political history of their ancestors. The play incorporates witness accounts, archive film and scale models.
  • Otabenga Jones & Associates, "Dedications." Presented in collaboration with Project Row Houses, this Houston-based collective will install and unveil monuments during performances featuring public speakers, commemorative music and participatory readings at two historical Dowling Street locations in Third Ward: the People’s Party Clinic and the Progressive Amateur Boxing Association.

"CounterCurrent is about amplifying Houston’s communities, cityscapes, industries and institutions through works developed outside and within Houston’s borders," Farber said. "By programming stimulating visionary and thought-provoking works by artists from all over the world, we expect to generate unprecedented excitement about contemporary performance in Houston and engage the University community in the experience."

View the complete schedule of events at

- By Mike Emery