It's festival mania in Houston as this weekend offers more than your share of celebrations that laud art, culture, food and music.
The Original Greek Festival
I have two words for you about this big fat happy fest: Eating pants. Sure there are boisterous live music, dancing and a gift store with colorful pottery, jewelry, candles, clothes, art and lovely smelly candles. But does anyone think that the main reason to take in this celebration isn't to be shamelessly gluttonous?
Get in line early for the dinner plate that includes pastisio (some call it Greek lasagna, I call it heavenly shepherd's pie), spanakopita, beautifully caramelized balls of meat and more. Then work your way to the beef souvlaki on skewers and gyros that are generously loaded with tatziki. Buy a bottle of wine to share and use the varietal to wash down some of the 21,000 pieces of baklava and honey balls as your final stop on this cultural adventure. Bring extra cash.
Hands-on Houston Family Festival 2014
I don't mind if folks call me a dork for being enthralled by the process of turning raw materials into beautiful glass creations. I once had the opportunity to witness the magical transformation first hand during a visit to Houston Studio Glass (video here), where Kathy Poeppel and Dick Moiel demonstrated the beauty of a substance that's so abundant we often take it for granted.
The husband-and-wife team is among a select number of experts who will participate in Houston Center for Contemporary Craft's Hands-on Houston Family Festival. Amid artful activities, demonstrations and exhibitions, visitors will glean a new appreciation for glass while enjoying grub from The Golden Grill and Monster PBJ food trucks.
Buffalo Bayou Shrimp Festival "A Celebration of the Estuary"
You can add one more to the ongoing tally of food festivals that occupy the calendar of a gastronome. As part of Houston Arts Alliance's Transported + Renewed place-making initiative, the inaugural Buffalo Bayou Shrimp Festival, presented in partnership with Shrimp Boat Projects and Buffalo Bayou Partnership, may be about food, but it's so much more.
The gathering that includes beer, live music from local talent, games, a boat parade and an Urban Harvest cooking feud is really about recognizing the crustacean's influence in shaping economies, lifestyle, culture and family life.
Zine Fest Houston 2014
While I love the convenience of e-books, there are some literary mediums that will never be able to be replaced by digital formats. That's why supporting an event such as Zine Fest is critical. The creativity found in small alternative publications — many the métier of underground artists — is like a box of chocolates. This Printing Museum affair brings together some 50 zine creators in a day that includes lectures, discussions, workshops and demonstrations.
Houston Chamber Choir presents "Love Me Do: Songs of the '60s"
While not technically a festival, every Houston Chamber Choir performance I've attended has felt more like a party than a stiff, serious, let's clasp our hands together choir musicale — especially when the professional musicians venture outside classical rep to offer popular selections. That in a nutshell is what this program is about. A bit of 1860s Brahms complemented with 1960s tunes by The Beatles.