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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — including the ultimate tiki party

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12th Annual Galveston FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photography Festival
Photographer Gary Seloff captured this gorgeous image of a green heron at Horsepen Bayou. Courtesy of Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council/Facebook
Holocaust Museum Houston Lecture: "A Survivor's Journey to Inspire" with Yannick Tona
Holocaust Museum Houston hosts Yannick Tona for a lecture titled "A Survivor's Journey to Inspire." Courtesy photo
Houston Grand Opera $2 million gift, January 2013, A scene from Das Rheingold
A scene from HGO's production of Wagner's Das Rheingold. Photo by Tato Baeza/Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia"
"The Martiki: A Montrose Art party" benefiting Art League Houston's Healing Art Program
Happy guests at last year's Healing Art Program benefit party. Courtesy of Art League Houston
Japan Festival 2014
The Japan Festival at Hermann Park includes two full colorful days of music, arts and crafts, martial arts and more. Courtesy of Houston Japan Festival/Facebook
Gracie N. SXSW crash pastry chef at Mark's American Cuisine March 2014
Houston's food community has rallied together to raise money for pastry chef Gracie Nguyen, who was injured by a drunk driver at SXSW.  YouCaring.com
12th Annual Galveston FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photography Festival
Holocaust Museum Houston Lecture: "A Survivor's Journey to Inspire" with Yannick Tona
Houston Grand Opera $2 million gift, January 2013, A scene from Das Rheingold
"The Martiki: A Montrose Art party" benefiting Art League Houston's Healing Art Program
Japan Festival 2014
Gracie N. SXSW crash pastry chef at Mark's American Cuisine March 2014
Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

On tap this week is a lineup of events that includes a lecture from a young man on a mission to spread a message of peace, a festival that takes flight with feathery creatures, the beginning of a tuneful epic drama, a party for art that heals and a family-friendly gathering that celebrates the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Holocaust Museum Houston Lecture: "A Survivor's Journey to Inspire" with Yannick Tona

On Friday, 20-year-old Yannick Tona wrote on Twitter: "On this day April 4 in 1994 my grandparents and my brother were still alive." The words of this Rwandan genocide survivor serve as a reminder that healing isn't synonymous with forgetting.

Tona's survival marked the beginning of a lifelong commitment to tell the stories of those who could no longer tell them in an effort to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself.

The skinny: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.; Holocaust Museum Houston; $8 general public; $5 for Holocaust Museum Houston members, seniors and students.

12th Annual Galveston FeatherFest Birding & Nature Photography Festival

Unbeknownst to many locals, Galveston is home to one of the largest birding festivals in the state, the confluence of diverse ecosystems mingling to forge a rich habitat in which approximately 235 species can be observed during the spring migration. New species seen during last year's FeatherFest include the bay-breasted warbler, blackpoll warbler, cerulean warbler, Philadelphia vireo, golden-crowned kinglet and short-eared owl.

Numerous activities such as boat excursions, expert-led hikes, photography workshops, refuge tours and more are hosted at the four-day, 12th annual event. Check out the full schedule, plan ahead and prepare to experience a side of the island many haven't had the pleasure of discovering.

The skinny: Thursday through Sunday; various locations; fee varies by event.

Houston Grand Opera presents Das Rheingold

And so it begins. The four-part, 15-hour ginormous epic that's Wagner's Ring Cycle, written for an equally colossal orchestra plus singers with lungs of steel, is a saga of fate versus free will set in a mythical land of dwarfs, water nymphs and pagan gods. The story unfolds with the prelude opera Das Rheingold, in which the cursed ring comes into existence.

No opera buff's life is complete without experiencing the complete series in consecutive nights. Houston Grand Opera's production, which presents one part per year, is the next best thing.

The skinny: Friday through April 26; Wortham Theater Center; tickets start at $15.

"The Martiki: A Montrose Art Party" benefiting Art League Houston's Healing Art Program

Party Hawaiian style while supporting a program that helps adults living with series illnesses and physical disabilities. Art League Houston's Healing Art Program is the beneficiary of the tiki-themed fete that includes art, a silent auction, music and a bar stocked with the evening's signature bev, Martiki punch, plus suds from Saint Arnold Brewing Company.

Chairs Bobby Bass, Crystal and Don Owens and Robert and Michelle Raney request your presence. So find a grass skirt, wear a pineapple on your head and coconuts on your chest. Bonus points if you show off your gyrating luau moves.

The skinny: Friday, 6 p.m.; Art League Houston; free event.

Japan Festival 2014

If your exposure to Japanese culture is limited to sushi, tempura and ninjas, let's just say you are in dire need of a wake up call form the Land of the Rising Sun. The Japan Festival at Hermann Park, organized by the Japan-America Society of Houston, hosts two full colorful days of music, arts and crafts, martial arts, Ikebana flower arranging, tea ceremonies, dance performances, shopping, dining and on and on.

Headlining the family-friendly gathering are Japanese pop stars Aya Uchida and Sugar Joiko. Perhaps their music might finally help you get over your Korean pop obsession.

The skinny: Saturday and Sunday; Hermann Park; free event.

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