Pick Five (Plus)

Your weekly guide to Houston: Asia Society's monster kickoff, Heights home tour & Discovery Green's fab birthday

Your weekly guide to Houston: Asia Society's monster kickoff, Heights home tour & Discovery Green's fab birthday

News_11_Asia Society Center of Texas_building
Asia Society Texas has planned a four-day event binge to inaugurate its new home on Southmore designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. Photo by Paul Hester/© 2011 Hester + Hardaway
2012 Houston Heights Home & Garden Tour
The 2012 Houston Heights Home & Garden Tour includes five historic and one newly built residence. 
News_Discovery Green_40th birthday_band_stage
Discovery Green's fourth anniversary fete summons the energy of the Beatles with the Fab 40. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Courtesy of Discovery Green
News_Menil Community Arts Festival
The Menil Community Festival 2012 includes book readings, performances, drum circles, workshops, concerts, screenings, art fairs, sales and demonstrations. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5p.m. Courtesy of Menil Community Arts Festival/Facebook
Preservation Houston Walking Tour: The Women of Glenwood
Preservation Houston is back with another cemetery tour focusing on the leading ladies of Houston history. Sunday, 2 p.m. Courtesy of Preservation Houston
News_11_Asia Society Center of Texas_building
2012 Houston Heights Home & Garden Tour
News_Discovery Green_40th birthday_band_stage
News_Menil Community Arts Festival
Preservation Houston Walking Tour: The Women of Glenwood

The Pink Ribbons Project knows how to make an entrance. The breast cancer awareness organization picked the right chairs for its upcoming Pink at the Brown performance bash at Wortham Theater Center — so much so that the event's first-ever kickoff party at Philippe Restaurant + Lounge turned into a happening high-decibel hot spot event.

Kudos to chairs Kristy Bradshaw, Lindsey Brown, Samira Salman and Shawn Stephens who rallied Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Houston Ballet's Jim Nelson, Merrill and Joe Hafner, Alley Theatre's Dean Gladden, Jo and Jim Furr, Joella and Steve Mach, Carmen and Butch Mach, Nic Phillips, the newly engaged Miya Shay, Kari Govin and Kim Padgett to join in for drinks and nibbles.

What's more fabulous than art in unexpected spaces?

 ​What now resembles a Middle Eastern arabesque mosaic pattern is a memorizing study on unearthing spellbinding qualities from what many dismiss as banal, uninteresting or unremarkable.

Photographer and creative gent David A. Brown — also en route to becoming an aerial movement artist — has been busy dissolving everyday images of Houston into a geometric collage composed of 4,500 individual parts in a vacant former optical shop adjacent to Khon's Bar in midtown. 

What now resembles a Middle Eastern arabesque mosaic pattern is a mesmerizing study on unearthing spellbinding qualities from what many dismiss as banal, uninteresting or unremarkable.

"The f/stops here," on view through April 28, is part of FotoFest 2012 and focuses on Brown's work alongside Paul Davis, George Hixson, Lokey Photography and Ezekiel Solis.

Working off Easter Brunch or Passover Seder won't be easy this coming week with happenings that appeal to the social climbers, music junkies, cultural consumers and outdoor lovers.

Asia Society Texas Tiger Ball, Spotlight Asia Cocktails & Cultural Fusions and First Look Festival

Go big or go home. I can't think of a better way to describe what this week will be for the movers and shakers at Asia Society Texas, which has planned a four-day event binge to inaugurate its new home, on Southmore, designed by Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.

The red carpet welcome begins with "Tiger Ball: Illuminating Asia" on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. That's when the who's who of Houston's elite will rub elbows with chairs Margaret Alkek Williams, Sushila and Durga D. Agrawal, Judy and Scott Nyquist and Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron. The gala is sold out.

"Spotlight Asia: Cocktails and Cultural Fusions" is a members-only party for the trendy 45-and-under crowd. Set for 7 p.m. Friday, chairs Divya and Chris Brown and a massive host committee of notables promise urban beats, tasty bites and more than a fair share of alcohol. Tickets start at $50 for members and $75 for membership and entry combined.

On Saturday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 6 p.m.) the doors open wide at the First Look Festival with a dedication by Mayor Annise Parker followed by an ambitious lineup of performers and demos including: Naniwa Tobi Dento Hozonkai, Lee's Golden Dragon, Vien Thong Tu Lion Dance, T'ai Chi, Qigong, Yogiños for Youth from The Crow Collection of Asian Art, Anjali Center for Performing Arts, Houston Grand Opera To Go, The Mountain Music Project, Riyaaz Qawaali, Shipra Mehrotra, Space City Gamelan, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko, Wat Buddhavas of Houston, Thai Dance and many, many more.

Click here for a detailed schedule. The First Look Festival is free. 

2012 Houston Heights Home & Garden Tour

How cute is The Heights? Like the darling eccentric aunt who never ages, the in-the-Loop suburb has managed to retain the essence of a small cutesy town amid a big oil city.

All six homes on view at the 2012 Houston Heights Home & Garden Tour — five historic and one newly built — explain how past and present can coexist in design.

Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Begin at the Heights Fire Station and hop on the luxury shuttle from home to home. Tickets are $10 in advance, $25 at the door or $5 per individual home.

For social butterflies, the Candlelight Dinner & Auction is set for Friday at 5 p.m. at the SPJST Lodge Pokrok on Beall Street. The fundraising affair, hailed as Houston Heights' social gathering of the year, kicks off with a preview tour before the homes open to the general public. Guests will bid on silent and live auctions featuring an acrylic-on-linen art piece by Mexican painter J. Antonio Farfan and enjoy bites courtesy of Massoud's Catering with plenty of alcohol.

Tickets are $125 for open seating or $1,250 for a table of 10.

The fun keeps going at the "Blow the Doors Wide Open" after party Friday at 10 p.m. That's when Buzz & the Blue Cats will keep night owls dancing until the wee hours of the morning while an open bar of wine, beer and the signature cocktail, The Knocker, will make for a rough Saturday morning. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door.

Houston Grand Opera presents Don Carlos at Wortham Theater Center

Short of Viking horned hats and pointy metal brassieres, Verdi's Don Carlos is everything opera should be: Grand and emotional with themes of regal conflict, love, death and burnings at the stake in 16th century Spain. And it's all sung in French.

HGO amasses quite the cast with bass-baritone Samuel Ramey's debut as The Grand Inquisitor, Brandon Jovanovich in the title role, Tamara Wilson as Elisabeth de Valois, the sassy Christine Goerke as Princess Ebolie and Scott Hendricks — who held his own alongside soprano Albina Shagimuratova in Lucia di Lammermoor and Rigoletto — as Rodrigue.

Opens Friday and runs through April 28. Tickets start at $38.

Discovery Green's Fourth Birthday Celebration with The Fab 40

It's hard to imagine that the site where Discovery Green sits was once a high-end residential area, a mixed-used commercial multiplex and a network of parking lots. Houston didn't just "Let it Be" and "With A Little Help From My Friends" proved what can happen when folks "Come Together."

Four years after a land purchase upwards of $57 million and $125 million worth of improvements, the 12-acre park is the pride and joy of Houstonians, whether you reside downtown or are an occasional visitor.

This anniversary fete summons the energy of the Beatles with the Fab 40. At the free concert, a new 10 by 20-foot H-E-B Family Celebration Tent designed by Giancarlo Perossa will be unveiled.

Friday at 7:30 p.m. Free.

Menil Community Festival 2012

At times, the grounds hugging the Menil Collection offer a repose from the hectic pace of everyday 21st century digital living. But on Saturday, expect the artsy prowess of the museum and all its friends — count them: Aurora Picture Show, Catastrophic Theater, Da Camera, Friends of Mandell Park, Houston Center for Photography, Houston Indie Book Festival, Inprint, Southwest Alternate Media Project, Rothko Chapel, Watercolor Art Society-Houston, Writers in the Schools and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts — to suffuse every indoor and outdoor inch of the campus. 

There's much to do and too many activities to list including book readings, performances, drum circles, workshops, concerts, screenings, art fairs, sales, demonstrations and the like. Click here for a detailed list of events.

Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free

2012 Bayou Buddies Bayou Bash at the Sabine to Bagby Promenade

When Bayou Buddies, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership's young professionals group, puts on a shindig, it typically isn't a loud, drink-the-night-away type of rave. Instead, the social gatherings are relaxed, informal and comfortable, fusing live music with diversions appropriate for a sunny springtime afternoon. 

Live music from The Beans, steaming crawfish and suds donated by Saint Arnold Brewing Co. will surely refresh while bayou fans engage in lawn games and bid at a silent auction.

Saturday at 1 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members in advance. Fees increase by $10 at the door.

Arts smarty pants and beer loving lovable dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Bobbindoctrin's Eighth Annual Puppet Slam "Puppetsploitation"at Midtown Arts Center

Nancy says: " 'There is no limit to the ways one can subjugate, humiliate and manipulate the puppet,' says Joel Orr, Houston chief of puppetry and Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre. 'Here's the thing with puppets: if you don't bring your own imagination to the show, the puppets stay dead.'

"Attention puppet freaks, you have two more chances to catch the Bobbindoctrin presentation of Puppetsploitation.

"Paedarchy Puppets presents Arachnobat, in which a young spidress learns how to finally leave the web and to live up to both her and her father's expectations of what her life as an adult spider will be — and what role, if any, Spiderman should play. Camella Clements presents Hex, where a woman, weary of dabbling in domesticity, meddles with the metaphysical to bring about self destruction. And finally, the guy himself, Joel Orr, presents Another Day in Hell, where the two quickly-killed security guards from My Cold Dead Fingers begin eternal tourism in hell together."

Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Suggested ticket price is $13, which is negotiable.

CultureMap's intern and indie music insider Karen Labuca's pick: Britt Daniel at the Houston of Blues

Karen says: "Britt Daniel, indie-rock Texan vet, will make a pit-stop with his band Spoon Friday night at House of Blues. I've been a huge fan of this band for years and I am really glad that they're still making music and touring locally. These guys have stayed under the radar long enough and still managed to gain a cult following, so I'm sure it's going to be a much anticipated show."

Friday. Doors open at 8 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $28.50.

Staff writer and CultureMap's adorable Houston explorer Whitney Radley's pick: Gallery Openings at Isabella Court

Whitney says: "Gallery openings at Isabella Court on Friday nights are always enjoyable. Start early at Inman Gallery, then sip, peruse and chat your way through the neighboring Bryan Miller Gallery, Art Palace and Devin Borden Gallery — and, if you're not yet ready to call it a night, follow the rest of the crowd, which inevitably moves down the street to Double Trouble for a cocktail or espresso."

Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Staff writer, architecture savant and all around good guy Tyler Rudick's pick: Preservation Houston Walking Tour "The Women of Glenwood"

Tyler says: "Preservation Houston is back with another of its fascinating cemetery tours this weekend. Focusing on the leading ladies of Houston history, Sunday's look at Glenwood Cemetery explores the city's early suffragist and settle house movements and points out the tombs of Texas icons like stateswoman Oveta Culp Hobby and movie star Gene Tierney.

The 90-minute history lesson is $10 a person — two dollars off for those who use public transit and three dollars off for students."

Sunday at 2 p.m.