‘Pain’ in the asking

A curmudgeonly man, bespectacled in a plain black suit and bare feet like Yves St. Laurent at the beach, thumbs through a dictionary in the dark, telling stories that go nowhere. He’s a contrarian, obviously the survivor of a troubled past, but not really equipped to explain it. This is us, he tells the audience directly, interacting “face to face with the modern mind.” God, I hope not.

The absurdism that is Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) is smart (almost too smart), and it challenges you in assaultive but funny ways, with lots of word play amid the fatalistic rants. I’m not sure where it’s headed — absurdist plays are often unfathomable that way — but I do know that Steven Walters is the actor to lead us there.

His modulation of energy as he relates stories — about a dead dog, about anger and fear and relationships — it what can sustain you for 70 minutes of one voice talking to you on a mostly black stage. This show marks Second Thought Theatre’s artistic reboot; it’s a good way to begin.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Through Jan. 29 at Addison Theatre Centre. SecondThoughtTheatre.org.

—  John Wright

Movie Monday: ‘Catfish’ plays in limited release

‘Catfish,’ a documentary about online relationships, is a gripping true mystery

The story starts out innocently enough. Schulman’s adorably cute (and distractingly hairy) brother Nev has begun an online friendship with Abby, an eight-year-old girl who sent him a painting of one of his photos. Soon, he’s developed a friendship with the girl’s mom, and eventually, a crush on her 19-year-old half-sister, Megan. The family begins sending him frequent care packages filled with more and more paintings and intimate glimpses into their family life.

Read the full review here.

DEETS: Rated PG-13.  90 mins. Now playing at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station and AMC NorthPark Center.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer People of Color Summit in Austin next weekend

Chastity Kirven
Chastity Kirven

This year’s Statewide Queer People of Color Summit begins July 9 at Alma de Mujer, a retreat northwest of Downtown Austin.

The summit is a gathering of LGBT people of color and activist allies. The goal of the weekend is to build relationships, think critically, envision liberation and create strategies that build and sustain a queer people of color movement across the state of Texas.

Dallas activist Chastity Kirven is among the speakers.

The registration fee includes includes two nights lodging at the facility, six meals, snacks and materials.

The summit is from 6 p.m. July 9 through 3 p.m. July 11 at Alma de Mujer, 3621 FM 2769 in Austin. The cost is $120. For more info, call 512-472-2001.

—  David Taffet