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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — including Art Car Parade commuter magic

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Ethan Bortnick
At only 13 years old, pianist and vocalist Ethan Bortnick charms audiences with his vivacious interpretation of songs everyone knows and loves. Courtesy photo/Facebook
Houston Art Car Parade
Andy Hazell's new creation for the 27th Annual Houston Art Car Parade. Houston Art Car Parade/Facebook
Meghan Lindsay
Soprano Meghan Lindsay is featured in Ars Lyrica's "A Baroque Wedding Feast" concert. Courtesy of the artist/Facebook
Caroline Bowman in Evita
Caroline Bowman, as Eva Perón in TUTS' production of Evita, has "powerful chops, great acting skills and tremendous presence." Courtesy photo
Galveston Historical Foundation's 40th Annual Historic Homes Tour
Courtesy of the Galveston Historical Foundation, nine privately owned historic homes will open their doors for guests to meander around and take in the appeal of beachy architecture. Galveston Historical Foundation
Ethan Bortnick
Houston Art Car Parade
Meghan Lindsay
Caroline Bowman in Evita
Galveston Historical Foundation's 40th Annual Historic Homes Tour
Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

Are you stumped with what to do for Mother's Day? I have you covered this week with mommy-approved happenings for all types of personalities, including a delightful concert featuring a charming young lad and a TV celeb, a parade of quirky art on wheels, a tuneful wedding event, an iconic musical and a home tour of beachy appeal. 

Ethan Bortnick in concert "The Power of Music"

He's as cute as a button and as entertaining as a show biz veteran who knows how to work a crowd. At only 13 years old, pianist and vocalist Ethan Bortnick charms audiences with his vivacious interpretation of songs everyone knows and loves. The unstoppable little guy is joined by Damian McGinty, the Irish actor best known for his role as Rory Flanagan in the popular TV series Glee.

In a recent tweet, Bortnick reveals that he's planned lots of surprises.  

The skinny: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; tickets are $51.75.

27th Annual Houston Art Car Parade

Nothing says Houston more than the yearly cavalcade of colorful clunkers that sashays for everyone's enjoyment. Always on Mother's Day weekend, the Houston Art Car Parade offers more festivities than the 250-plus procession on wheels that started with a donated vehicle, paint and plastic fruit 27 years ago.

People watching is fabulous at "The Legendary Art Car Ball" (Friday, 6 to 11 p.m., One and Two Allen Center), a scene hosted by Artemis Pebdani from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Wild costumes set the stage for this tradition suitable for a commuter city that loves to party.

You can get up close and personal with the creations at the "Sneak Peek at Discovery Green" (Thursday, 6:30-9 p.m.). For the best experience, I recommend splurging on tickets to access the VIPit area, where food, drinks, shaded seating and great company turn the parade into an al fresco bash (Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m., $150).

The skinny: The parade is on Saturday, 2 p.m.; Allen Parkway; free event.

Ars Lyrica presents "A Baroque Wedding Feast"

Give Mom the wedding she's always wanted — through music at least. Ars Lyrica, an ensemble that destroys any sort of stereotype that the so called early music genre is a bore, curates a historically enlightened musicale fitting for the springy season of love and marriage. Soprano Meghan Lindsay is featured in a selection of Bach Cantatas. Adding to the amorous fun are a witty suite by Telemann and Pachelbel's Canon & Gigue in D Major.

The skinny: Friday, 8 p.m.; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; tickets start at $35.

Theatre Under the Stars presents Evita

You don't have a soul if you don't shed some tears when Evita croons "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," no question the most iconic tune of this 1978 Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber Tony Award-winning showstopper.

Serendipity? This week marks the 95th anniversary of Eva Perón's birth.

The touring production hosted by Theatre Under the Stars has been enhanced with updated dance numbers, a 1970s tenor and more authentic Argentine flavor plus a headlining chanteuse, Caroline Bowman, that has "powerful chops, great acting skills and tremendous presence" (Star Tribune). Don't you think that Mother would love this show?

The skinny: Runs through May 18; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; tickets start at $24.

Galveston Historical Foundation's 40th Annual Historic Homes Tour

Gallivant down to the coast and travel back to the glory days of Galveston Island. Courtesy of the Galveston Historical Foundation, nine privately owned historic homes will open their doors for curious guests to meander around and take in the appeal of beachy architecture and design.

Couple that with brunch at one of CultureMap's restaurant suggestions (make reservations if possible) and you have an outing worthy of celebrating your matriarchal roots.

The skinny: Saturday, Sunday and May 10-11; Galveston; $20 general admission, $15 Galveston Historical Foundation members.

Staff writer and resident gourmand Eric Sandler's Pick: CultureMap Tastemaker Awards

Eric says: "After months of planning, our first ever Tastemaker Awards gala happens Thursday night. We empanelled a dozen of Houston's top restaurant industry insiders and asked them to select winners in categories such as Best Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Chinatown Restaurant, Best Bar and more.

"The event features top restaurants serving their signature bites along with great cocktails, craft beer and delicious wines. Join us and meet the who's who of Houston's food world. Since my birthday is Friday, I've also demanded requested cake."

The skinny: Thursday, 6-9 p.m.; Winter Street Studios; tickets are $65.

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