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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — sex machine composer tribute included

Your weekly guide: 5 don't-miss events — sex machine composer included

Ars Lyrica, New Year's Eve party, December 2012, Lauren Snouffer
Ars Lyrica's tribute to the Bach family includes an appearance by soprano Lauren Snouffer. Photo courtesy of Ars Lyrica
Psophonia Dance Company presents Fresh Cuts
Psophonia Dance Company presents Fresh Cuts, a collection of works by emerging choreographers. Courtesy of Psophonia Dance Company
Stages Repertory Theatre presents Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
Stages Repertory Theatre presents Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold starring Denise Fennell. Courtesy of Stages Repertory Theatre
News_Art Car Parade_Sea-Doo car_May 2012
"Around!" is more of a block party with music, food trucks and happy people everywhere. Photo by Jeremy Keas
Creative Placemaking Series with speaker Jamie Bennett
ArtPlace America executive director Jamie Bennett will address creative platemaking in a discussion at the University of Houston. Courtesy photo
Ars Lyrica, New Year's Eve party, December 2012, Lauren Snouffer
Psophonia Dance Company presents Fresh Cuts
Stages Repertory Theatre presents Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold
News_Art Car Parade_Sea-Doo car_May 2012
Creative Placemaking Series with speaker Jamie Bennett

On the agenda this week is a chat about the newest trend in artistic endeavors, a concert that celebrates one busy musical daddy, a dance performance that tickles the imagination, a hilarious yet religious comedy romp and a parade and goes around and around with quirky renewed fun.

Creative Placemaking Series with speaker Jamie Bennett

It's the newest hot topic among the art cognoscenti — how to activate a meaningful location with creativity so that planning, cultural appreciation and historic preservation are encouraged. Creative placemaking is behind Houston Arts Alliance's successful Transported + Renewed project, a National Endowment for the Arts-supported initiative that's raising awareness about Houston's East End.

In a discussion with Houston Arts Alliance president and CEO Jonathon Glus, ArtPlace America executive director Jamie Bennett will address just how to get it right.

The skinny: Friday, 9:30 a.m.; University Center Theater; free event.

Ars Lyrica Houston presents "Bach and Sons: At the Café"

People's reactions to the news that the patriarch of classical music — you know I am talking about Johann Sebastian Bach — was as prolific under the sheets as he was a composer is priceless. The Baroque tunesmith brought 20 kiddos into the world, most of whom, those who lived long enough anyway, became talented musicians in their own right.

 Yes, folks. Even people back then wet themselves over really good beans. 

And so Ars Lyrica presents a tribute to this very busy man and his flesh and blood. This first program, subtitled "At the Café," includes music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Christoph Friedrich Bach, alongside daddy's Coffee Cantata — surely inspired by a trip to Revival Market, where the vanilla lattes are delish, for a cup of java.

Yes, folks. Even people back then wet themselves over really good beans. 

The skinny: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; tickets start at $36.

Psophonia Dance Company presents Fresh Cuts

There's lots to love about Psophonia Dance Company shows: While the contemporary troupe's works are typically highly narrative, there's always an element of abstraction that opens interpretation at the whim of each audience member. Everyone leaves with plenty to think about.

For instance, Timothy Johnson's Shhh! is a reflection of the artist's recovery after a car accident. Similarly, Tory Pierce's Cicatrix is inspired by physical scars left from trauma. Other works are lighter in tenor, like Kristina Prats' exploration of laughter as chicken soup for the soul.

The skinny: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Vault Houston; tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

Stages Repertory Theatre presents Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold

Speaking the God honest truth here: Isn't any kind of comedy much more riotous when told by someone wearing a nun's getup? Enter Denise Fennell, a Boston-native who grew up in a strict Italian Catholic nabe in which attending mass was an everyday occurrence.

She's charming, she's hilarious, and she will have a cow if anyone chews gum, drinks water or talks to a neighbor during the performance. So I dare you to do so and see what happens. Holy shit is right.

It doesn't matter what the show's about. You'll have the kind of religious experience brought on by too much laughter. And don't we all need that during the over-commercialized holiday season?

The skinny: Through Dec. 28; Stages Repertory Theatre; tickets start at $21.

Houston Arts Alliance presents "Around! A Parade on Wheels"

We've already enjoyed a parade on foot and a procession on water. So it's time for the Houston Arts Alliance to close the loop on the pageant triad that's part of Transported + Renewed with a spectacle on wheels in collaboration with, of course, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Arts, the nonprofit that puts on the Art Car Parade.

More than just a parade, "Around!" is a block party with music, food trucks and happy people everywhere.

The skinny: Saturday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; on York and Sampson streets between Preston and Engelke streets; free event.